EDMONTON — A new card the provincial government will release to help Albertans show proof of their vaccination status is not being considered as a vaccine passport.
The province is creating a “conveniently sized paper card” showing COVID-19 immunization records that Albertans will be able to access from the provincial health website: MyHealth Records.
The province aims to have the cards ready for download from the health record website by mid-September.
It will be up to Albertans themselves if they want to use the card, by either printing the card out or digitally saving the card on a mobile device.
“We understand how important it is for Albertans to have appropriate access to their immunization records right now,” said Chris Bourdeau, spokesperson for Alberta Health, in an email to CTV News.
“In the meantime, Albertan’s [sic] are encouraged to review the policies of locations and businesses prior to their visit to confirm what forms of vaccination proof will be accepted,” Bourdeau said. “It is recommended that Albertans use the paper immunizations record they received at the time of their immunization as a back-up.”
Bourdeau said that any Albertan who did not receive a paper copy of their record of immunization or needs another one can request a copy from wherever they received their vaccine doses.
When asked by CTV News if the new paper or digital card offered by Alberta Health will constitute a vaccine passport or card, Bourdeau said it would not.
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“No,” the spokesperson said. “This is the same information on vaccination that Albertans have been able to access for any immunization since before COVID-19, simply being made available in a more convenient form.
“The decision on whether and how to use their own personal health information is up to each Albertan, subject to any requirements set by businesses or other organizations.”
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Health Minister Tyler Shandro tweeted on Thursday that the province will not implement a vaccine passport and that anyone looking for proof of immunization to use documents they received from the place they received their vaccination or from Alberta MyHealth Records.
“Albertans have been asking more questions about proof of vaccination in recent days,” Shandro said.
“To be clear, the Alberta government has not and will not mandate a so-called ‘vaccine passport’ for domestic use,” he added.
The health minister said that other jurisdictions in Canada and countries around the world may have other requirements for showing proof of receiving a COVID-19 vaccination that the Government of Alberta “does not control.”
“Albertans already receive proof of vaccination when they get their shot, be it from AHS, pharmacies, or a doctor,” Shandro said. “But some Albertans, for whatever reason, are still hoping to receive a more formal document (ex. for international travel).”
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According to Shandro, 800,000 Albertans already have accounts to access MyHealth Records, with thousands signing up to gain access to the website in the past few days.
“We are working on making MyHealth Records more accessible for Albertans,” the health minister said.
With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Dan Grummett