More than 600K Ontarians downloaded a COVID-19 vaccine receipt on Wednesday

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More than 600,000 vaccine receipts were downloaded from the Ontario government’s website on Wednesday as a new mandate barring unvaccinated individuals from accessing a number of non-essential businesses and settings formally took effect.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says that a total of 637,000 of the PDF receipts were downloaded throughout the day on Wednesday, brining the total that have been downloaded so far to 2.7 million.

All Ontarians 12 and up will be required to produce a copy of the receipt along with photo identification to gain access to a number of settings over the coming weeks, including gyms, movie theatres and restaurants for the purpose of indoor dining.

The Ford government, however, has said that it hopes to be able to make new scannable QR codes available to Ontarians to prove their vaccine status as of Oct. 22.

The push comes amid concerns that the existing PDF receipts can be easily edited to change the name of the individual who received the vaccine.

"When it comes to the health and safety of our communities, we are confident the overwhelming majority of Ontarians will do the right thing,” a spokesperson for the Ministry of Health told CP24 on Thursday, brushing aside questions around the reliability of the receipts. “Over 79 per cent of Ontarians over 12 have already received two doses and will have a secure certificate for use in required settings.”

Premier Doug Ford has insisted that Ontario’s new vaccine certificate system will be a strictly “temporary measure” that will be lifted as soon as the threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.

In the meantime many public health officials are welcoming the launch of the vaccine requirement as a difficult but necessary measure amid the Delta-driven fourth wave of the pandemic.

“I am relieved at the launch of the provincial government’s vaccination certification program yesterday to protect individuals and high-risk settings in our community,” Peel Region’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Lawrence Loh told reporters during a briefing earlier on Thursday. “This temporary measure will help to reduce contacts and risks for our residents. It will do so by protecting those who haven't had the opportunity to receive two doses of vaccine in places where precautions can’t consistently be followed. Please continue to be kind and understanding as everyone works to implement this program and keep our community safe.”