Quebec’s health minister announced Thursday that Quebec may start using digital vaccination passports to prevent people who have not been fully vaccinated against the novel coronavirus from some non-essential services as early as September.
If the epidemic situation deteriorates and the fourth wave hits Quebec, people who are not fully vaccinated may see themselves deprived of places and activities considered “high” or “moderate” – such as gyms, team sports and theaters, for example – as an alternative to generalized closure.
“If, and only if, the situation deteriorates, rather than closing down sectors of activity, it will be necessary to doubly vaccinate to access certain activities,” Christian Dube told reporters.
Dube said the passports will only start once all eligible residents have had a chance to get their vaccinations – citing September 1 as a possible date – and stressed that they will only be used in areas that have seen outbreaks.
Vaccination passports will not be required to access essential services or goods.
“That’s good for society, education, the economy, and very good for our health network,” Dubey said.
Regarding people who have been advised not to receive the vaccination for medical reasons, the county said the system will be “improved” in the next few weeks, and urged patients to seek proof from a doctor for the time being.
“Obviously, in the event of an outbreak, people who have been adequately vaccinated will have a more normal situation, and they will maintain their normal lives,” Dube said.
“People who refuse to be vaccinated, that’s their right. But they should know: in the event of an outbreak or transmission in their area, they may have to isolate, get tested, or they may not be able to access certain activities.”
Two doses to combat the delta variant
Dube said 95 percent of the county’s new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations last week affected people who had not been fully vaccinated as of Wednesday.
The minister appealed to residents to schedule a vaccination date, especially those between the ages of 18 and 29, who he said are less likely to be vaccinated.
According to department data, 67 percent of people in that age group received a single dose, the lowest rate in the province among groups eligible to receive the vaccine.
Dr. Cecile Tremblay, a microbiologist and infectious disease specialist at a major healthcare network in Montreal, told Radio Canada that she believes using a vaccine passport could act as an incentive for people who don’t consider vaccination a priority.
Such as The search also appearsTremblay notes that a single dose of the vaccine is ineffective in preventing the spread of the more infectious delta type.
“We don’t want people to get sick or die, but we also don’t want our health care system to be overwhelmed, as it has in waves past,” she said.
Quebec is the first province to introduce a system where non-essential services are inaccessible to people based on vaccination status, while other provinces have given fully vaccinated people certain benefits.
In June, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister announced that fully vaccinated Manitoba residents would be able to travel within Canada without having to self-isolate for two weeks after their return, using their vaccination card as evidence.
Later this month, PEI will welcome all visitors from outside Atlantic Canada and the Magdalen Islands, and all Canadians with a PEI pass will be allowed to visit without the need for isolation.
In May, Canada said it was in talks with its G7 allies about implementing a vaccine passport that would allow vaccinated Canadians to resume international travel, but no official announcement has been made yet.
But earlier this week, the federal government relaxed border rules for fully vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents returning to the country, allowing them to forgo the 14-day quarantine period.
Dube said people traveling to affected areas of Quebec from abroad would also need proof of proper vaccination to access certain services.
Health officials have not set any targets required to avoid implementing vaccine passports, nor have they set a threshold that would prompt the introduction of the practice. They said it will depend on multiple factors, such as hospitalization and mortality rates and the prevalence of new variables.
But Dube said the province is up to 80 percent of the population to be fully vaccinated by August – an increase from the previous target of 75 percent – because more infectious variants are emerging in other countries and across Canada.
As of today, 40 percent of eligible Quebecers are fully vaccinated.