B.C.'s vaccine card not compatible with new federal system

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The provincial vaccine card downloaded by approximately 3.7 million B.C. residents isn't compatible with the federal proof-of-vaccination system Canadians will soon use when travelling.

That system, unveiled by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday, uses a standardized vaccine passport that features a traveller's name, their birthdate and detailed information on their COVID-19 vaccination history, including the types of vaccine received for each dose.

B.C.'s card only displays a user's name and vaccination status. Both the federal and provincial versions use a scannable QR code.

"The federal government's test is much higher for international travel, and we said so at the time that we implemented our immunization card," Premier John Horgan said, speaking to reporters hours after Trudeau's announcement.

"You're going to need two at the moment, and we'll see how we go in the months ahead, how we can bring those two together."

Horgan said B.C. is still working with the federal government to prepare for the launch of the new system on Oct. 30, and that he understands there will be a grace period during which the province's existing vaccine card will be accepted for travel. He could not say how long that grace period might last.

"We're going to hopefully clarify those issues in the days ahead," he said, acknowledging Thursday's announcement "does create confusion for people who are anxious to travel."

The premier also noted that all of the detailed information required for the federal passport, including the batch numbers of each dose received, is already securely stored by B.C.'s Ministry of Health.

- with files from CTV -