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Vaccine passports need international coordination: Vancouver business group

Last Updated Jun 18, 2021 at 11:52 am PDT

FILE - In this undated photo, provided by NY Governor's Press Office on Saturday March 27, 2021, is the new "Excelsior Pass" app, a digital pass that people can download to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test. Vaccine passports being developed to verify COVID-19 immunization status and allow inoculated people to more freely travel, shop and dine have become the latest flash point in America’s perpetual political wars, with Republicans portraying them as a heavy-handed intrusion into personal freedom and private health choices. (NY Governor's Press Office via AP, File)

Greater Vancouver Board of Trade wants any COVID-19 vaccine passport to be developed in concert with other countries

GVBoT says consistency will be key to provide clarity and confidence to travelers

E.U. already moving ahead with digital vaccine certificates, but the U.S. does not appear interested

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – As Ottawa announces plans to have a national COVID-19 vaccine passport for international travel by the fall, a Vancouver business group hopes it’s done in coordination with other countries.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed Friday the federal government is working with provinces, but Greater Vancouver Board of Trade chief executive Bridgitte Anderson says linking up with other countries on this will be important.

There are dozens and dozens of different platforms and documents that are being developed around the world, so consistency will be very, very important, and even consistency across Canada as well to understand what the guidance is and what those policies are going to be, which is why it’s imperative for the federal government to give that information now,” Anderson said. 

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The European Union is already moving ahead with digital vaccine certificates, but there appears to be little appetite for an equivalent in the U.S. Some American venues, however, have said they will not admit people who have received the AstraZeneca vaccine because it has not been approved by the American Food and Drug Administration.

“I think it’s really important that we follow the science on this and the guidelines and that there’s also consistency so that people around the world, that visitors from around the world coming to Vancouver and British Columbia, understand what the guidelines are and can prepare for them,” Anderson said. “Without that clarity, that’s where you see confidence not being able to build and you see that people are starting to be worried about what the plan is going to be, and that’s why we’re saying that clarity is so incredibly important right now.”

Trudeau said while that plan is being developed, his government is working on a system involving the ArriveCan app that will be ready in the “coming weeks.”

By the fall, Trudeau said he hoped to “establish a national certification of vaccination status.”

The prime minister said the national vaccine passport “will be easily accepted around the world for people who need to travel internationally.”

On Friday, the federal government also announced it was extending its border restrictions on non-essential international travel until July 21.