Premier John Horgan said that the province will work with the federal government on integrating the two vaccine cards, but that British Columbians will require both versions for the time being.
Horgan’s comments come after he was first questioned about the lack of integration in the legislature and then again at a press conference directly following on Thursday (Oct. 21).
The federal government rolled out its federal vaccine passport earlier this morning but British Columbians are not able to download it yet. Horgan said that because the province developed its vaccine card early – it was rolled out on Sept. 13 – they did not collect the sort of data a more detailed international document will require.
“The federal government’s test is much higher for international travel and we said so at the time that we implemented our immunization card that at the point when the borders are open – particularly of course to the south of us – those who want to travel internationally were going to require some other form of identification distributed and approved by the federal government,” Horgan said.
Horgan said that British Columbians will be able to access the federal vaccine card; however, the federal government’s website states that it is not yet available to people living in the province.
“You’re going to need two at the moment and we’ll see how we go in the months ahead and how we can bring those two together,” he said.
The B.C. vaccine card only shows whether or not an individual is partially, full or not at all vaccinated. The federal version will show the type of vaccine received, how many doses were given and their lot numbers.
Horgan also took issue at the federal government’s requirement of a molecular COVID-19 test result within 72 hours of entering Canada, even if that test is taken prior to leaving Canada.
“I find the notion that I could go and get a test in Vancouver, travel to the United States and then come back with that very same test as kind of counter to the whole point,” he said. “The point is when you’re travelling somewhere else and you may have contracted COVID-19, you should be tested first.”
Horgan said that keeping the test requirement in place could push individuals into “pretending to have COVID symptoms so that they can get a test so they can go shopping.”
Currently, the only free tests available are through the provincial government and are reserved for people with symptoms, those who have been exposed to COVID-19 or surgical patients.