Canadian Medical Association backs vaccine passports for everyone

It’s day one for vaccine passports in Quebec and some other provinces are poised to follow suit, but the Canadian Medical Association would like to see them right across the country.

The so-called vaccine passports, essentially certificates which confirm vaccination, will enable people to do such things as eat out at restaurants, work out at gyms, or attend live concert performances.

And they’re an effective tool in encouraging people to get fully vaccinated, CMA president Dr. Katharine Smart told CTV’s Your Morning on Wednesday. More people in Quebec and British Columbia got vaccinated when those provinces said they were introducing passports.

That’s important because there’s been a levelling off of the vaccination rate across Canada. About 66.7 per cent of the population is fully vaccinated. That number needs to be between 90 and 95 per cent to really keep everyone safe from the COVID-19 virus, Smart said.

“What we’re seeing is that certain provinces – now Alberta and Saskatchewan – are really seeing a huge uptick in COVID cases. It’s starting to spiral out of control there, and we’re not seeing all the tools that could be used to fight COVID being implemented,” Smart said, adding that vaccine passports could help.

Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Manitoba and B.C. are introducing their own certificates.

Manitoba’s vaccine passports will come into effect on Sept. 3 and will enable businesses, services and events to be open to fully vaccinated people without capacity limits or public health restrictions.

“Manitoba’s vaccine passport benefit will help encourage greater vaccine uptake, which is necessary to protect our health-care system from the COVID-19 fourth wave,” Health and Seniors Care Minister Audrey Gordon said in a statement on Aug. 27.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau said on Aug. 27 that his government would introduce a $1 billion fund to help provinces set up passports.

“It makes much more sense to have one approach that’s consistent for all Canadians and that’s interoperable,” Smart said.