Québec is the first province in Canada to announce the introduction of a vaccine passport. Similar to programs in New York City and Europe, the pass will allow individuals to prove they are fully vaccinated to access some non-essential services.
The pass is set to be introduced on September 1 as Québec faces an "inevitable" fourth wave. Rather than put the province under lockdown again and close non-essential businesses, Québec's health minister Christian Dubé said in a news conference on Tuesday that a vaccine passport would be implemented as a way of controlling the virus.
"The idea is for us to only allow people with the passport to access these services as of September 1, instead of closing them," Dubé said via the Montreal Gazette.
Avec la ⬆️ des cas + hospit, la fin des vacances, les conditions sont réunies pour le passeport vaccinal. Nous profiterons des proch sem pour préparer sa mise en place le 1er sept.
2 projets-pilotes permettront de tester l’appli et la lecture du code QR dans les 2 proch sem. pic.twitter.com/81XbRDkVQW
— Christian Dubé (@cdube_sante) August 10, 2021
The pass will display a person's vaccination status and will be required at restaurants, bars, festivals, gyms and movie theaters. Cultural attractions and essential services like grocery stores are excluded from the program.
People will be able to access the vaccine passport through a free smartphone app, though Dubé said a paper version will also be accepted from people without access to phones. A pilot project will be launched today to test the system before the official launch in September.
"Taking into account the increase in cases, the fall coming up with the back-to-school and back-to-work and the expected prevalence of the Delta variant, the conditions are there to deploy the vaccination passport," Dubé said.
Like the rest of Canada, Québec has reported success in its vaccination campaign. According to the official tracker, 84% of the eligible population has received their first dose, while 70% is fully vaccinated. Despite the strong uptake though, the highly contagious Delta variant is driving up COVID-19 infections throughout the province —particularly among unvaccinated and partially vaccinated people.
Canada opened its borders to fully vaccinated US tourists on Monday, and is preparing to allow fully vaccinated visitors from the rest of the world in from September 7. It's expected that tourists in Québec will be required to participate in the province's health pass system. When visiting Canada, passengers are asked to input their vaccination status to the ArriveCan app before boarding their flight so it's possible that they will then be able to use this app to access spaces where the vaccine passport is required —but details have yet to be confirmed.
To stay up-to-date on the COVID-19 situation in Québec, see here.
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