Printable proof of vaccination cards, not vaccine passports, being rolled out in Alberta
Though the province stopped short of calling it a vaccine passport, proof of immunization for Albertans will be made available starting Thursday.
Albertans will be able to print a copy of their card-sized COVID-19 proof of vaccination or show it on their phone or tablet, the province said in a news release.
Officials said a QR code is being developed and will be available "in the coming weeks."
In a news release, Health Minister Tyler Shandro encouraged Albertans to use MyHealth Records so they can access their immunization records.
"More Albertans are signing up for this tool every day to access their health information, and if you haven’t done so already, I encourage you to sign up now," he said.
Despite the introduction of a card-sized COVID-19 vaccination record, the province will not be mandating vaccines, leaving businesses to implement their own policies if they so choose.
“If it is the choice of each individual business or client, then you don’t have the consistency across the board,” said Stephen Klintberg Nagy, co-founder of Rockethouse Productions.
“So there is still the rollercoaster effect of anybody who wants to access your business or event.”
Klintberg Nagy says a client cancelled a conference with his company this week due to Alberta’s decision making in regards to COVID-19.
He said a conference that typically sees about 1,500 people was shrunk to 500, and then eventually 100 people -- who were fully vaccinated – but has since been entirely cancelled.
“If things were standardized, it makes things much, much easier and much better for communication,” Klintberg Nagy said.
Health policy expert Lorian Hardcastle from the University of Calgary believes the province did not go far enough by providing a vaccination record.
“What would have been better would be a provincially driven manner where they clearly list the businesses that must require it, and those who can’t require it because they are essential,” Hardcastle said.
“There are pockets of the province where infections are high and vaccine rates are high and adoption there could be low.”
The province said Albertans should print their records off before any event that requires them, such as concerts and hockey games.
“MyHealth Records may experience high traffic volume before major events and long weekends,” read a statement from the province.
Officials say COVID-19 immunization records have been available since December 2020 for Albertans aged 14 and older.
More than 110,000 Albertans have created their MyHealth Records account in the last three weeks, bringing the total number of users to about 910,000.