COVID-19 vaccine passports? Ontario's suggestion to card residents may not be the smartest move right now, expert says
Ontarians who quickly find the trigger for a vaccine could move around a little more freely if everything goes according to plan from Ontario Minister of Health Christine Elliot. During a COVID-19 briefing a few weeks ago, the Minister of Health said the province was reviewing the concept of a vaccination pass to be issued to people who received a COVID-19 vaccine in the coming year.
Vaccination records are not new and have been used for dozens of years when traveling to certain countries to ensure visitors are properly vaccinated. With the COVID-19 vaccination certificate, however, the Ontarians seem to be able to reintegrate into a normal life.
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“[It] will be really important for people to go for travel, maybe work, theaters, cinemas or other places where people are in closer physical contact as we weather the worst of the pandemic. Said Elliott.
While COVID-19 vaccination shots cannot be mandatory, Elliot mentioned that companies could require Ontarians to provide proof of vaccination.
"There may be some restrictions that may apply to people who don't have [the vaccine]. However, it is up to the individual to decide whether or not they want to get the vaccine in order to be able to do these things." But it's voluntary. "
Does Ontario jump on the gun with a vaccination certificate?
With Canada only just launching its first fleet of vaccines, Ontario's idea of floating a vaccination record seems to be jumping the gun.
“I think it's still a bit in its infancy in terms of its development. I know they have and are developing a good system to track people who have received the vaccine across Canada, ”said Dr. Gerald Evans, chairman and medical director of infection prevention and control at Kingston Health Sciences Center.
Dr. Evans added that talking about a strategy regarding vaccination records could put the cart in front of the horse as we are a few months away from immunizing the public.
“Where should you spend your money now? Should you spend money developing vaccination records? Should you spend more money on the communication plan? The answer is to spend a lot on communication. Invest your money there, ”he said.
The idea of vaccination records could be great, but trying to create physical or digital databases will be challenging, especially with those that ensure user privacy. As a result, Dr. Evans states that a vaccination certificate will not be issued until next summer.
“There are so many details that need to be worked out. The logistics would have to be worked out. I think the planning has to start now, but the initiation and implementation has to be really necessary for another 6 to 8 months, ”said Dr. Evans.
For the most part, there are civil liberty issues when Canadians are required to disclose their medical history to a company or anyone else, and if they don't have a vaccination record, they can prevent people from accessing services.
“There are just a lot of tricky problems starting with creating a different class of citizens? Is there a privacy issue? "said Dr. Evans.
Christine Elliott answers the question about proof of COVID-19 vaccination
Ontario Minister of Health Christine Elliott was asked Tuesday by a media member if the public would be issued evidence that they had received a COVID-19 vaccine. Elliott said yes, adding that certain settings may need to be accessed.
While the ethical and legal aspects of a vaccination record are a little more complicated than what appears on the surface, Dr. Evans of the benefits this could bring to a weakened Ontario economy. A vaccination record could allow people to travel, dine out doors, visit arcades and places for activities, and resume late surgery.
"I understand why they want to do this because it would benefit people in society such as healthcare workers, first responders and travelers," he said.
While investing in new applications and techniques to monitor and track vaccination records could be effective, Dr. Evans states that Ontario can't lose sight of the ball when it comes to making sure prevention efforts are still intact.
"The vaccine will be an important tool in the fight against COVID-19, but there are many other controls that we need to continue investing in," said Dr. Evans.
Handwashes and face masks will likely need to be kept nearby, and vaccination records should be kept around, Dr. Evans shouldn't take precedence over preventive control measures, although it's a great idea for businesses.
Why the public restrictions on COVID-19 won't be eased until well into 2021
The specialist in infectious diseases, Dr. Sumon Chakrabarti says the reopening of society with vaccine use and bans is expected to last until spring 2021 - and not all at once, but in slow and steady stages.
"I think vaccination records are something that is across the board as most of the effort right now is getting the vaccine out and giving the vaccine to people," he said.
While Canada will begin immunizing the public from 2021, Dr. Evans notes that we are still a long way from having the vaccine available to more Canadians and it will likely take a while for normalcy to appear.
“When summer comes we will embark on a vigorous campaign to immunize people and we will immunize part of the population, but a return to normal I think we will have something around this time next year, the one is more like typical vacation time, ”he said.
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