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BC introducing COVID-19 vaccine passport next month

A vaccine passport will soon be needed to attend certain social and recreational settings, as well as events, in British Columbia.

The Government of BC announced today that the BC Vaccine Card will become a reality starting in September.

On Sept. 13, proof of at least one vaccination dose will be needed to do a number of things indoors and that will change to proof of having both doses on Oct. 24.

<who>Photo Credit: Unsplash

The list of indoor events and settings that you’ll need a vaccine card for includes:

  • Ticketed sporting events
  • Concerts
  • Theatre, dance and symphony events
  • Movie theatres
  • Restaurants
  • Night clubs
  • Casinos
  • Fitness centres and gyms
  • Businesses offering indoor high-intensity group exercise activities
  • Organized indoor events like weddings, parties, conferences, meetings and workshops.

It will not apply to grocery stores, other retail stores and faith services.

Premier John Horgan said the Delta variant and an increase in cases, "largely within the unvaccinated population," has led the provincial government to pause and reflect on what steps can be taken through public health to protect British Columbians.

Protecting businesses and making sure we can keep doing the things that make life in BC so special were other reasons that Horgan cited for implementing the vaccine passport.

Horgan wasn't the only one to mention the influx in cases among unvaccinated people, as Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix once again provided the numbers that backed up those claims.

Henry said that unvaccinated people account for over 90% of all COVID-19 cases and over 93% of all hospitalizations due to the virus in BC over the last month.

“We know that while so many British Columbians have had their first and second doses, there are British Columbians, about 776,000 eligible right now, who have not yet done so," added Dix.

"We know that unvaccinated people are getting sick, we know they are going to hospital and we know that no one is comfortable with any of this.”

Of course, anyone under the age of 12 who is not yet eligible for a vaccine will be exempt from these restrictions.

There will be no exemptions for anyone aged 12 and up, Henry said, which includes medical and religious reasons for not being vaccinated.

British Columbians will be able to access their proof of vaccination through a "secure website," a link to which will be provided and publicized before Sept. 13.

To access proof of vaccination, a person will need:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Personal health number
  • People will be able to save a copy of their proof of vaccination to their phone to show when entering designated businesses and events
  • A second, secure option will be provided through a call-in centre for those who can't access their proof of vaccination online

People will need to show proof of vaccination in the setting listed above alongside a valid government ID.

Anyone visiting BC from outside of the province will also need proof of vaccination using a provincially or territorially recognized official record alongside a valid government ID from the jurisdiction.

The same will be true for those visiting from outside of Canada, who will be required to show their proof of vaccination used to enter the country alongside their passport.

These measures will be time limited through Jan. 31, 2022, but are subject to possible extension.

Horgan called vaccines the ticket to putting the COVID-19 pandemic behind us.

"I call on all eligible unvaccinated British Columbians to roll up their sleeves to stop the spread, and help protect themselves, their loved ones and the people in their community," he said.

"British Columbia has one of the strongest vaccination rates in Canada with 75 per cent of eligible people now fully vaccinated, but there is still more work to do."

As of Friday afternoon, 3,851,971 British Columbians aged 12 and up have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 3,444,125 have been fully vaccinated with two doses.

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