Vaccine passports could improve immunization rate, policy expert says


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Requiring proof of vaccination in non-essential public places could help Alberta’s stagnant COVID-19 vaccination campaign, local policy expert says, as other provinces have seen uptake increase after introducing requirements similar.


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British Columbia announced this week that people will need to prove they have received at least one injection to attend indoor sporting events, indoor and outdoor dining, fitness centers, casinos and events. organized in theaters from September 13. They will need to be fully vaccinated to attend such events by October.

This province announced the initiative for the first time on Monday.

Vaccine reservations more than doubled Monday and Tuesday after the announcement of the BC vaccination card, according to British Columbia health officials, to nearly 17,000. That is just over 8 000 in the same two-day period the previous week.

On Thursday and Friday, 9,094 people and 8,529 people respectively received their first injection, CBC reported.

Quebec made a similar announcement this week and also saw an increase in participation in its vaccination campaign.


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Meanwhile, Alberta’s vaccination rates have remained stagnant this summer. The province saw a surge in vaccinations earlier this year as it had one of the highest vaccination rates in Canada throughout the spring. However, the province has only seen a 7.7% increase in the number of eligible people who have received their first dose since reaching the 70% threshold needed to lift most public health restrictions by June.

Currently, 69.3% of eligible Albertans are fully immune.

Jean-Christophe Boucher, assistant professor at the University of Calgary, has been studying vaccine reluctance for almost a year. He said the introduction of passports for vaccines serves two political purposes: to restrict the movement of people and the spread of COVID-19 in non-essential indoor places, and to increase the number of people getting vaccinated.


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He said data on the impact of vaccine passports on increasing rates is still new, but could create 5-10% adoption.

He said there were three main themes behind the reluctance to vaccinate: people don’t feel safe getting vaccinated, people think vaccines aren’t effective, and they don’t trust or want to. not be told what to do by governments. He said vaccine passports address the third theme of government mistrust by putting a price on decisions not to listen to elected leaders.

“In the grand scheme of things, what it does is it increases the cost of freedom. In many ways, that puts a price on your decision not to be vaccinated, ”said Boucher.

“In this context, people are always free to decide if this is the price they feel they are prepared to pay. But what we’ve seen in the past and what we’re seeing in these different jurisdictions is that some people at this point are saying, “You know what? My freedom is super important, but I also want to be free to go to a bar and go to a hockey game.


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Manitoba has also introduced vaccine passports while New York City and several European jurisdictions have introduced similar policies. The federal government recently announced that proof of vaccination will be required for interprovincial travel and Ontario is expected to introduce its version of a vaccination requirement next week.

Some private entities have chosen to enact vaccine requirements in the absence of a provincial decree. Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corp., owner of the Flames, Hitmen and Stampeders, recently announced that their participation in events at McMahon Stadium and the Saddledome will require proof of COVID-19 vaccination.

Boucher said that in a place where people value their freedom, such as Alberta, the requirement to get vaccinated to move around freely could be a major factor if it causes people to get bitten. However, he said some people might sink in and continue to resist the inoculation.


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Cases, hospitalizations and intensive care admissions are all on the rise in Alberta. The province has registered more than 1,000 new cases every day over the past three days for which data is available. Public health experts have urged that more public health restrictions be put in place to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Boucher said that if nothing is done in the near future, the current government may have to choose between vaccine passports and new sets of restrictions or blockages to prevent COVID-19 from spreading and overwhelming the system. health.

“The government has to make tough choices, that’s why you’re elected, and that’s why you have the power to make those tough decisions,” Boucher said.

The Alberta government’s requests for comment were not answered on Saturday.

Officials have previously said the province opposes the application of proof of vaccine requirements. Earlier this week, Health Minister Tyler Shandro announced on social media that Albertans would not impose a COVID-19 vaccination passport system but could get a convenient-sized card showing their vaccination record.

– With files from Nathan Griffiths

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