Delayed vaccine status cards: What Albertans need to know

EDMONTON –

If you live in Alberta and woke up extra early Thursday morning to print out your new vaccine status card, you may have noticed you can’t… at least, not yet.

The province’s previously announced date of Thursday, Sept. 16 for the vaccine card rollout has been delayed until Sunday, Sept. 19.

With Alberta’s newly announced proof of vaccination program set to start on Sept. 20, Health Minister Tyler Shandro assured Albertans they’ll still be able to use their existing vaccination records as proof when the new rules take effect.

“Albertans are able to use their existing records. Whether they receive them from a pharmacy like I did, or from AHS, when the proof of vaccination requirements are implemented on Sept. 20. and even after Sept. 20, you will be able to use your original copies,” he said during Wednesday’s supper-hour news conference.

Shandro added that screenshots or photos of vaccine documents would also be acceptable.

On Thursday morning, more than 100,000 people were trying to log on to the province’s MyHealth Records website.

“I want to apologize for the difficulties experienced by Albertans in accessing MyHealth Records over the last 24 hours,” said Shandro. “Significant improvements to MyHealth Records are being made as we speak. And for the time being, Albertans should avoid logging in to MyHealth Records to download their immunization records.”

Shandro acknowledged the flaws of the loose rules around proof of vaccination for the interim, calling the current situation “unavoidable.”

“We realize that this system is imperfect and some people may choose to abuse the system,” he said. “That’s why in the coming weeks, we’ll be introducing a QR code that will be a much more secure format. It will be downloadable. 

“Details will be announced as soon as possible.”

HOW PROOF OF VACCINATION WILL WORK IN ALBERTA

Beginning Monday, businesses in Alberta will be able to take part in the province’s Restrictions Exemption Program

Businesses, such as restaurants, that opt into the program will require people aged 12 and older to provide proof of vaccination or documentation of a medical exemption in order to enter.

From Sept. 20 to Oct. 25, proof of a single dose will be sufficient provided the dose was given at least two weeks previous.

As of Oct. 25, proof of double vaccination will be required to enter businesses enrolled in the Restrictions Exemption Program.  

Proof of a negative COVID-19 test result from within 72 hours may also be used to access events and businesses.

Restaurants that choose not to participate in the program will not be allowed to offer indoor dining to customers.

Businesses, like grocery stores and retail outlets, will not be eligible for the Restrictions Exemption Program and will be required to follow all provincial restrictions.

Shandro said the program is intended to encourage unvaccinated Albertans to get the shot.

“Thousands of surgeries and medical procedures have had to be cancelled to create capacity in our hospitals and ICUs for unvaccinated Albertans,” said Shandro. “Vaccines are the only way out of these public health restrictions and to protect lives.” 

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