Vaccine passports: No point yet

·2 min read

MIDDLESEX - As vaccines become available to more and more people, and as people yearn for a “return to normal”, it remains to be seen whether vaccine ‘passports’ will be imposed for things like international travel, concerts, indoor dining, and beyond. Now, vaccinated Ontarians receive a digital certificate, not unlike a receipt you might get from a restaurant or retail store, containing information about which vaccine was administered, when, which arm, and if applicable, the date of future appointments. The province-wide receipt is not intended to be a vaccine passport, says Middlesex-London Medical Officer of Health Dr. Chris Mackie; although, if an employer is looking for proof of vaccination, he supposes it could be used as such. Around the world, governments have begun introducing plans for vaccine passports, including Israel, China, Britain, and the EU. In Canada, discussions have taken place at the federal level, and recent reports indicate consideration by the Ontario government. The US government ruled out the idea of imposing a vaccine passport, but said private businesses are free to explore the idea. The subject comes with a great many questions regarding privacy, fairness, and actual effectiveness in protecting public health. At a local level, imagine needing a proof-of-vaccine to eat at your favourite downtown restaurant, attend school or church, or a local hockey game?

The Medical Officer of Health says vaccine passports aren’t the right step - for now. “Will there be a role for vaccine passports in the future… probably,” said Dr. Mackie during a recent media briefing. He notes that it makes zero sense to hold people accountable for something many people don’t have access to. No conversations have taken place at the local government level regarding vaccine passports.

McKinley Leonard-Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Middlesex Banner