Darcy Palmer has kept the yellow punched Ontario immunization handbook by his side for 29 years now.
He’s traveled the world with him, starting with Sault Ste. Mary, Ont., trace footage he received in British Columbia, Manitoba, Korea and Japan, where he now lives. He considers it his own vaccination passport.
Although it has lasted for three decades, it is in surprisingly good shape.
She says, ‘This is your personal immunization record. Don’t lose this card. Record all vaccinations on this card. ‘ He said, waving the brochure proudly.
As Ontario prepares to roll out its COVID-19 proof of vaccination system later this month, people like Palmer are nostalgic for those little yellow pamphlets.
The county has long used it to track immunizations for things like tetanus, hepatitis C, and polio. The brochure serves as a guide to vaccination, especially for children, who should usually get some vaccinations, such as mumps, measles and rubella, before going to school.
Ontario Morning from CBC Radio3:49Vaccine passports are not new. Ontario has sunny yellow shot brochures
The yellow brochure occupies a “special place”
Yours may have tucked away in a junk drawer, but Palmer still keeps his pamphlet religiously updated.
“I originally took it out this summer, in case I needed to get my COVID vaccination history,” he said. “But then I realized they were doing something separate.”
AJ Wray, a doctoral student at Western University in London, Ontario, keeps it in a safe place, along with his passport and birth certificate. “It has a special place in the document’s levels of importance,” he said.
Watch | Ontario announces plan to prove vaccination:
Wray’s brochure began to crumble. There is erosion in the corners and some holes are starting to appear. He believed that for years he kept it in his mother’s purse. Some color remains.
He said, “This yellow – I haven’t seen it anywhere else in any other document. It’s very bright and very saturated.” “With age, it’s more orange than anything else.”
Ray teaches undergraduates at Western University. When he mentions the yellow pamphlets, not many students know what he is talking about. But the county health department said it was still making brochures.
CBC News has reached out to more than two dozen health units in Ontario, and most said they are distributing yellow records or giving them to family doctors and hospitals for distribution.
Marian Rock distributes her health unit, Halliburton, Wartha, and Pine Ridge District (HKPR), and distributes about 500 brochures every six months.
“We’re trying to move more into an electronic world, but I still think there’s still an appetite for them,” said Rock, who is a director in HKPR’s Department of Health Protection. “I still use it to immunize my daughter.”
The county has an online platform where footage recorded in the yellow pamphlet, called Immunization Connect Ontario, can be added. Rock says her health unit has been trying to get people to self-report the shots there, but it has been difficult.
“No one can have access to a computer, laptop or phone. … for these people, it is important that they have that yellow card.”
How the Ontario Vaccine Passport Scheme will work:
- From September 22, you will need proof of vaccination and a photo ID to enter high-risk and non-essential venues such as bars, restaurants, gyms, sporting events and festivals.
- This can be a printout of a PDF available online, or you can show the PDF from your phone.
- On October 22, the county will launch an app that can scan QR codes assigned to vaccine certificates.
- Read more about how it works.
The brochure cannot be used as evidence of a COVID-19 shot
Rock said she wasn’t sure if the Yellow Immunization Book was going to die or not. Outside of the routine, you still bring it when you get your regular vaccinations. She has even seen people bring their brochures when they come in for their COVID-19 vaccinations.
The county told CBC that it will not accept a yellow card entry as proof of a COVID-19 snapshot when the passport vaccination program begins on September 22. Instead, the COVID-19 vaccine history is stored online.
“They are completely separate things,” Rock explained.
Although Wray has stuck to his shot brochure all these years, he’s willing to let it go to a digital brochure.
“You think about inventing boarding passes on the internet… I just keep them in [phone] “The wallet is good,” he said. “If it’s good enough for airport security, it should be good enough for vaccine security.”