COVID-19 Diary – Day 273

COVID-19 Vaccination Passports on the Way

Here in BC (and all of Canada), we have the freedom to choose whether we wish to be vaccinated or not. There is no government forced mandate requiring any specific vaccinations, no matter how life-saving or important they may be. But despite this fact, in the coming 6-9 months, many individuals may feel a level of compulsion to get an approved COVID-19 vaccination, due to upcoming “vaccination passports”.

Vaccination passports are proof that an individual has received a specific vaccination, and can be essential for accessing otherwise restricted locations or services. This concept has been used by the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) for decades, with required proof of yellow fever or smallpox vaccinations needed to enter certain countries when travelling. And the W.H.O. has already been looking at how to proceed with a similar solution for COVID-19 passports.

But unlike with existing medical passports, a COVID-19 vaccination passport has the potential to affect our everyday lives. The difference comes in with private businesses, and especially the service industry who have an incentive to protect their staff’s health. At the very least for productivity reasons, if not for human empathy ones. As such, Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott confirmed earlier this week that proof of vaccination cards will be given out when you are inoculated, and will “be very important for people to have, for travel purposes and perhaps work purposes or going to theatres or cinemas or any other places where people will be in close physical contact when we get through the worst of the pandemic”.

Coronavirus vaccine: Companies working on 'COVID passports' - 6abc  Philadelphia

While BC Public Health has not commented on the idea of proof of vaccination cards, there is little doubt that such cards will be made available, to allow BC residents to travel internationally with ease, and to access restricted businesses in Ontario, and anywhere else.

We asked a few local BC business owners if they had any comment on the concept of private businesses requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccinations to access their services, or implementing restrictions based on them (such as delivery or curbside pickup being required if you have no proof of vaccination). Here are the responses we received:

“I’m gonna say no” (to implementing a requirement) “because I’d like to trust that people will make intelligent decisions and I don’t want to create a barrier to entry due to us being such a small business. I think it’s up to the business to determine the levels of safety procedures they need to follow and what they will allow.” -Ryan Paul, owner of B-Bombshell Salon

I don’t think we would” (implement a requirement). “As long as the staff is vaccinated, the risk between customers is very low, and we would expect to keep up current Covid policies until such time that most people are vaccinated, and local community spread is near zero. These types of heavy “must be vaccinated” restrictions might be more relevant to getting things like gyms and other “close contact” things back open. Doesn’t really make sense in a retail environment. Nor would it be enforceable in any practical way.” (Regarding implementing restrictions in general) “I think it will very much depend on the level of community spread, and I would expect some “vaccinated people only” style restrictions in the middle (especially in high-risk areas) while things are still spreading, but it’s way too early to predict how the numbers will trend and how effective the vaccine will be on an individual basis, as well as the levels of risk for each scenario. By the time most people are vaccinated, I would expect vaccine restrictions mostly lifted except maybe international travel as per other countries requirements.” -Brian Hughes, owner of Gamedeals Video Games.

“The short answer would be, as a business owner, yes, I would like to have that choice.” (to require vaccination passports) “I expect a return to normalcy for an event-driven business to be a gradual one. Eventually, there will be a point in time where enough of my customer base (and staff) are vaccinated that I *could* offer safe & profitable in-store events, but at the same time there would still be active COVID cases. At that point, I would only want to run an event for people that I know have been vaccinated. With a ‘vaccine passport’ I could offer those that have had the vaccine those services with minimal risk.” -Matthew Baker, owner of The Connection Games & Hobbies.

What are YOUR thoughts on the idea of COVID-19 Vaccination Passports? Please share your thoughts in our comment section at the bottom of the page.

Angus Reid Releases New Data on Canadian COVID-19 Opinions

Earlier this month Angus Reid provided new data from a survey offered across Canada, providing insight into the minds of Canadians across the country. The questions deal with compliance with restrictions, plans for Christmas, and overall concern about the pandemic. Here are our picks of the most interesting questions and results:

In general Canadians are worried about infections and deaths continuing to increase even further beyond where they are now.
According to self-reporting, the people of BC are leading the country (with Manitoba) for acting responsibly during the pandemic.
People in Canada are moderately concerned for their own health with regard to COVID-19.
People in Canada are much more concerned with the health of their friends and families, compared to their own, with regard to COVID-19.
The pandemic has not significantly affected Canadians’ Christmas spirit.

To see the rest of the reported survey data, check out Angus Reid’s post here.

Recent News Roundup

  • Humans and minks both test positive for COVID-19 at BC mink farm. BC Public Health confirms they are performing viral DNA sequencing to ensure the virus is not mutating as it jumps between species. Link here.
  • $119k in tickets have been given in BC for violating public health orders. Link here.
  • A member of the Canadian Armed Forces, who is in charge of training cadets, is under investigation after speaking at an anti-health rally and calling on the Canadian military to refuse to assist in distributing the vaccine. Link here.
  • Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate is now being tested with children aged 12-17. A great deal of attention is being paid to this study after Pfizer’s vaccine was only approved for children 16 and up. Link here.
  • South Korean contact tracing team study the effects of ventilation and airflow on aerosol transmission, where less than 5 minutes of exposure from 20ft away still led to viral transmission. Link here.

That’s all for now, stay safe everyone!

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