CALGARY – The Alberta government is going to bring in some kind of COVID-19 vaccine passport system, sources have confirmed.
BREAKING: Some form of vaccine passports are coming to #Alberta. Gov sources confirm Premier Kenney will hold a news conference today or tomorrow to announce additional #COVID19 measures. A cabinet committee meeting is still ongoing this a.m. #yyc #yeg #abpoli #ableg #COVID19AB
— Saif Kaisar (@StaySaif) September 15, 2021
Government sources say Premier Jason Kenney will hold a news conference Wednesday or Thursday at which point a passport will be announced, along with other COVID-19 health measures to curb the spread of the virus.
Passport specifics remain unclear.
Earlier this week, the province announced Albertans would be able to print off a wallet-sized vaccination record as early as Thursday and a scannable QR code would be coming later this month.
Passport needed, but don’t expect immediate results: doctor
An infectious disease expert at the University of Calgary, Dr. Daniel Gregson, says a vaccine passport can help reduce infections in the medium term, but the government has waited too long to act.
“We need action today, but we needed action a couple of weeks ago to reduce transmission. Vaccine passports [put in place] a couple of weeks ago may have put us in a better place,” he said.
“Right now, introducing a vaccine passport tomorrow will not have an effect on our admissions over the next week, because those people have already become infected. Their path, whatever it may be, is already determined.”
He also says anyone who was on the fence about the vaccine who chooses to get immunized right away because of the passport won’t be considered immunized until for a while yet.
“You gotta realize that anybody I move to immunization today, they won’t be two weeks post second dose of the vaccine for another six weeks.”
Most people that need to get their shots are between the ages of 12 and 39, and less than 60 per cent of people between 20 and 34 are considered fully immunized.
Gregson added that more restrictions will also need to be put in place to further reduce transmission until vaccines start taking more effect.
As of Tuesday, there were 822 people in hospital, with 212 people admitted to the ICU.
The ICU admissions reported on Tuesday are the highest the province has seen to date.
Of those currently in the ICU, about 88 per cent are unvaccinated.
Doctors, other medical professionals, and politicians have been calling for a vaccine passport as the province’s COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations surge.
-with files from Saif Kasiar, Tom Ross, and Josh Ritchie