With summer vacation approaching and the likely easing of some of its strictest health measures, the federal government is still in talks with its allies about a possible “vaccination passport.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a press briefing on Tuesday that his government is “looking into whether vaccination certificates will be useful or necessary for travel as we get through this pandemic.”
He recalled that each country can set whatever rules it wants, “but we are interested in joining countries that would like to do so, because we know that ensuring the protection of Canadians should be the first concern.”
While the United States ditched the vaccine passport idea nearly a month ago, the idea continues to gain traction in Ottawa.
While the United States does not intend to require proof of vaccination from Canadians crossing the border on land, Justin Trudeau did not close the door to that possibility. According to him, cooperation between the two countries does not necessarily imply perfect “symmetry”.
The European Union recently announced that it will welcome Americans who have received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, for example, which somehow implies that they will need to show proof of vaccination.
But above all, Mr. Trudeau recalled that “now is not the time to go”, since we “have not yet achieved it.” “We hope to get there in the coming months, but for now we still need to restrict our movements, follow public health guidelines and get vaccinated as soon as possible.”
- Listen to journalist Alexandre Dube with Benoit Dutrisac on QUB radio:
PHAC and passport
It is too early for the Deputy Director of the Public Health Agency, Dr. Howard Nju, to decide on the creation of a vaccination passport for travel abroad, as travel is still strongly discouraged anyway.
Regarding proof of vaccination for domestic activities, Dr. Nju explained that discussions are still ongoing and that Canada is closely following what is being done elsewhere in the world.
However, “issues of ethics, discrimination and stigma” remain at the center of the discussion.
“Even on a technical level, we know that after two doses of a vaccine, you cannot be sure, because no vaccine is 100% effective,” and that a fully vaccinated person can contact and infect other people, he recalled.
Moderna is gaining momentum
In parallel, Minister of Supply Anita Anand announced that more than 3 million doses of the vaccine are expected in the country by the end of the week.
Of these, 1 million doses of Moderna vaccine, which were due to leave Europe next week, will eventually be shipped to Canada.