Here are the basics of B.C.'s vaccine card program

·5 min read
A student is pictured in Vancouver last September. The province's vaccine card' system is due to come into effect on Sept. 13. (Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit)
A student is pictured in Vancouver last September. The province's vaccine card' system is due to come into effect on Sept. 13. (Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit)

B.C.'s vaccine card requirement is in effect as of Sept. 13.

The province, which introduced the requirement to encourage vaccinations and slow the surging fourth wave, released details of the program earlier in the month.

Here's what we know about the process, including how to find your card.

Who will need a vaccine card?

Anyone who wants to access the following places or do the following activities after Sept. 13 will need to show proof of vaccination:

  • indoor ticketed sporting events

  • indoor concerts

  • indoor theatre/dance/symphony events

  • restaurants (indoor and patio dining)

  • night clubs

  • casinos

  • movie theatres

  • fitness centres/gyms (excluding youth recreational sport)

  • businesses offering indoor high-intensity group exercise activities

  • organized indoor events (e.g., weddings, parties, conferences, meetings, workshops) with 50 or more people

  • discretionary organized indoor group recreational classes and activities

  • student housing on college and university campuses

How many doses do I need?

As of Sept. 13, you need to be at least partially vaccinated with one dose.

By Oct. 24, you'll need to have been fully vaccinated with two doses for at least seven days.

WATCH | B.C. announces the COVID-19 vaccine card:

How do I get my card?

Cards are available through the provincial Health Gateway website, though the site initially crashed due to high traffic volume.

Once you've loaded the site, you will need to enter your:

  • Date of birth

  • Date of vaccination — dose one or dose two

The vaccine card is a one-page file with your name, confirmed vaccination status and a QR code. You can take a screenshot of the card to use as a digital copy on your phone, or print a paper copy.

If the website is crashing, try again outside of peak hours — like early in the morning or later at night.

As of Sept. 13, you'll need to show proof of vaccination to access designated businesses and events. Adults aged 19 and over will also need to show a government-issued piece of photo ID.

People between the ages of 12 and 18 do not need to show photo ID with their card.

Those who can't access a computer and printer can:

  • Ask a friend or family member to print their vaccine card for them

  • Call the province's call centre at 1-833-838-2323 to have their card printed and sent by mail

  • Visit a Service B.C. location in person to have the card printed

Do not post your QR code online, the province said.

Until Sept. 26, you will be able to use your original proof of vaccination (such as the wallet card given out at vaccine clinics) to get into the above events.

After Sept. 27, however, the vaccine card will be the only accepted form of proof of vaccination.

I can't remember the date I got my vaccine. Now what?

You can confirm your vaccination records online. There are four steps near the bottom of this page to follow to do so.

To start, you'll need to download the B.C. Services Card app to your mobile device. You'll need the app to register for Health Gateway, which is the platform B.C. residents can use to access their health records online.

Once you're logged in to the gateway, you can find your COVID-19 immunization records.

If you believe your records are wrong, you'll need to call 1-833-838-2323 to have them fixed.

Are there any exemptions?

The cards are not required at grocery stores and other retail settings that haven't seen high levels of transmission, according to officials. This includes fast-food restaurants, cafeterias, food courts and drive-thru restaurants.

They also aren't necessary to access health services, enter a place of worship or vote in the federal election.

There is an exemption for children under the age of 12, but not for people who aren't able to get the vaccine for health or religious reasons.

I run a business. How do I check cards?

Businesses will have two options to verify the customers' vaccine cards:

  • Visually, just as staff check ID before selling alcohol

  • By scanning the card's QR code

For customers aged 19 and over, businesses will also need to ask for government-issued photo ID.

The province launched the B.C. Vaccine Card Verifier app for businesses to use to scan QR codes.

A statement said more information for business-owners will be available on a designated website.

How will this be enforced?

Premier John Horgan said staff at venues or businesses could call police if patrons refuse to show their vaccine cards, but business owners and police have said they're concerned about that approach.

Depending on the violation, fines can range between $230 to $575 for individuals and $2,300 for event organizers or owners/operators of the locations where the event is being held.

What if I'm visiting from outside of B.C.?

Proof of vaccination is also required for people visiting from out of province. They'll need a provincially or territorially recognized official vaccine record, as well as valid government ID from the same province or territory.

People visiting from outside Canada will be required to show the proof of vaccination they used to enter the country, along with their passport.

How long will this system last?

The measures are in place until Jan. 31, 2022, but could be extended.

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