Quebec may use vaccine passports this fall to shut out those not fully vaccinated from bars, gyms, festivals

Quebec may start using digital vaccination passports to bar people who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 from certain non-essential services as early as September, the province’s health minister announced on Thursday. 

If the epidemiological situation deteriorates and a fourth wave hits Quebec, people who are not fully vaccinated may see themselves shut out of gyms, team sports and theatres, for example, as an alternative to a generalized lockdown. 

“If, and only if, the situation deteriorates, rather than closing sectors of activity, it would be necessary to be doubly vaccinated to access certain activities,” Christian Dubé told reporters. 

He said the passports would only start being used once the entire eligible population has had the opportunity to get their vaccines — he mentioned Sept.1 as a potential date — and only if cases of COVID-19 begin to rise. 

Vaccination passports will not be required to access essential services or goods.

“This is good for society, education, the economy and very good for our health network,” said Dubé.

As of Wednesday, he said 95 per cent of new COVID cases and hospitalizations in the province in the last week affected people who were not fully vaccinated.

The minister appealed to the population to make a vaccination appointment, specifically singling out those aged 18-29 who he said are less likely to be vaccinated.

According to ministry data, 67 per cent of people in that age group have received one dose, the lowest rate in the province among groups eligible to receive the vaccine.

“It is clear that in the event of an outbreak, people who are adequately vaccinated will have a more normal situation, they will keep a normal life,” Dubé said.

“People who refuse to be vaccinated, it’s their right, but they must know: in the case of outbreak or transmission in their area, they might have to isolate, get tested or may not have access to certain activities.”

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