Vaccine passports to access non-essential services could roll out as early as September

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

“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,” said Christian Dubé.

Dubé 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 used to get essential services or goods, but may be used for non-essential services.

If 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. 

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

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