As my summer listening tour continues around the riding of Central Okanagan Similkameen Nicola (COSN), one topic that I continue to hear being raised is regarding vaccine passports.
When I last wrote a weekly report on this subject, back in early April, the vast majority of the feedback I received was largely opposed to the idea of vaccine passports.
While I continue to hear opposition, I am also increasingly hearing from other citizens who are demanding the Federal Government announce a federal vaccine passport program.
This week CTV News reported that a similar questions were asked of Prime Minister Trudeau:
“Prime Minister Justin Trudeau skirted around questions about when Canadians can expect to be equipped with formal proof of their COVID-19 vaccine status for travel abroad but vowed that the system will be both “simple and efficient.”
Based on the Prime Minister’s response we know that a federal vaccine passport program is in the works.
What remains unknown is when this program will be formerly announced.
I have also been receiving other concerns related to this subject.
Most have opposed the use of documents -- whether it is a called a 'vaccination record' or 'passport' domestically.
For example, to attend an event or domestic travel for, what is deemed provincially, as a non essential purpose.
I should note that the decision to require citizens within Canada to use such documentation would be a provincial and not a federal one.
However, it becomes a federal matter when that travel is international.
I have heard of local citizens, in attempting to make travel arrangements, being denied entry to various countries on account of having been vaccinated here in Canada with one or both doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
In one case, a Canadian attempting to attend a family member’s funeral was denied entry into another country.
It is a sovereign right of any country to establish under law who may enter their country and under what circumstances.
As a Member of Parliament, I believe Canada has the same sovereign right to admit or reject any admission under its own lawful authority and I believe Canadians strongly support that right.
It has been reported to me that some countries will only recognize mRNA vaccines manufactured by companies such as Pfizer and Moderna.
The Province of Quebec, to remedy this situation, has announced it will be offering an extra dose of an mRNA vaccine to those travelling to countries that only recognize mRNA vaccines.
If you are wondering what are the approved vaccines for US citizens to visit Canada for non-essential purposes beginning on August 9, 2021 the list includes:
Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD and Janssen/Johnson & Johnson.
In other words, Canada will provide more flexibility on the list of approved vaccines to visitors than many other countries who have formerly announced guidelines to foreign visitors.
While a federal vaccine passport program has not yet been announced my question this week is as follows:
When there is a federal vaccine passport program here in Canada, will you access it?
I can be reached at Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca or call toll free 1-800-665-8711.
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Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.