B.C. vaccine card: 3rd doses won't be required to access non-essential businesses

Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix speak at a live COVID-19 update. (Province of BC/Flickr)

As B.C. announced its plan to roll out third COVID-19 vaccine doses to the general public, officials say the extra shots won't lead to changes to mandates like the provincial proof-of-immunization card.

Dr. Bonnie Henry, Health Minister Adrian Dix and Dr. Penny Ballem held a joint news conference Tuesday announcing the plan to offer a booster dose to all British Columbians by the end of May. 

But even though more shots will be offered, it doesn't mean they'll be required in B.C.

Officials said Tuesday there wasn't enough data yet to say whether a third dose will be "necessary" for the general population. However, the third dose is strongly recommended for people that are more at-risk, whether it's because of their age, health, line of work or where they live.

As a result, officials said third doses won't be added to B.C.'s vaccine-card requirements or mandates for health-care workers.

As of Sunday, proof of two doses is required to access many non-essential businesses and events in B.C. Patrons going to restaurants, theatres, gyms, casinos, sporting events and other discretionary activities must show they've had their COVID-19 shots.

Proof that a person has had one or both doses of COVID-19 vaccine is not required at businesses deemed essential, such as on transit or at grocery stores. A card also doesn't need to be shown when stopping at a restaurant just to pick up a takeout order.

B.C.'s card system will be in place until at least Jan. 31, and health officials have already warned it may be extended, depending on the spread of COVID-19 in the province. 

- with files from CTV -