Story by Dione Wearmouth, Vista Radio staff
Premier John Horgan touched on the ‘standardized’ vaccine certificate introduced by the federal government.
The document will be used by Canadians travelling by air, rail or cruise ship.
Horgan says this federal card will be more detailed than BC’s, and will also show which vaccines were given, what date they were given on and what the batch number is, all information obtained privately by the Ministry of Health.
Currently, the provincial vaccine record only shows that the cardholder has been vaccinated twice, and must be provided with another form of ID such as a drivers license or passport.
“What I want British Columbians to know is that if you have no plans to travel in the immediate future, the 3.7 million of you who’ve already downloaded a BC immunization card can continue to go to the play can continue to go to a concert, can go out for dinner with some friends. If you want to travel internationally or on federally regulated modes of transportation, you’re going to require a federal card,” he explained.
Beginning on October 30, Canadians will need to show either proof of immunization or a negative Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test to travel on a plane or train, and Horgan says there will be a grace period during this time when BC’s vaccine card will be sufficient.
However, Horgan couldn’t say exactly how long that period will last but added he is working with the Canadian government to combine the federal and provincial documents.
He adds he recognizes that this will create confusion for those who are anxious to travel.
Horgan says the federal document that shows what type of vaccine was given is needed because some countries are still refusing to accept mixed doses and AstraZeneca for cross-border travel.
“The federal government’s test is much higher for international travel and we said so at the time that we implemented our immunization card that at the point where the borders are open, particularly to the south of us, and those that want to travel internationally are going to require some other form of identification distributed and approved by the federal government,” he explained.
According to the Government of Canada website, those who do not meet the country’s vaccine requirements when travelling may be denied entry, need to quarantine, take tests or need to meet other requirements upon arrival.