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How will a vaccine passport system affect students?


Dear Mr Brown,

I heard that Canada will be setting up a vaccine passport system now. I am wondering how that will affect my ability to start school since the vaccine has only recently arrived in Jamaica and most people are not vaccinated as yet.

DS

Dear DS,

The Ontario Hospital Association recently advised that the province has entered a third wave of COVID-19 due to the new variant strain of the virus from Britain that is significantly more contagious. In fact, the variant was described as being essentially out of control in terms of the spread of infections.

Public health measures such as going back into lockdown may be considered. However, the extent of the new wave may be offset by a higher rate of vaccination and the arrival of warmer weather, in which people spend more time outdoors.

Vaccine Passport

There is a federal target date of September for all Canadians wanting a shot to be vaccinated. Also, Canada will soon see a big increase in federal vaccine supplies.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently stated that a vaccine passport system to demonstrate proof of immunisation may be implemented for international travel. There is precedent of some countries requiring travellers to provide proof of immunisation against diseases like yellow fever before entry. This would work to ease border restrictions and lockdown.

Domestically, a paper-based passport or smartphone app showing digital proof of immunisation may also allow the resumption of events, concerts and other public gatherings. Restaurants and bars may be restricted to those who received the vaccine.

Critics are concerned about discrimination against those who are not vaccinated as some people will not be able to be vaccinated based medical conditions or other reasons. Moreover, some groups are not on priority lists who will have to wait much longer before getting vaccinations. However, some provinces already require that children be vaccinated against certain diseases such as diphtheria, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps and rubella for all students before attending school, which may be used as a model for a vaccine passport programme.

I am not sure if having a negative COVID-19 test would be relevant in such a system. The Government of Canada is currently weighing the options to balance public health with equity and fairness for the future, but a vaccine passport system has not been implemented as yet. We will have to follow any developments very closely.

 

Please visit JAMAICA2CANADA.COM for additional information on Canadian permanent residence programmes, including Express Entry, The Study & Work programme, visas or appeals, etc.

Antonn Brown, BA, (Hons), LLB, MSc, RCIC, is an immigration counsel and an accredited Canadian education agent of JAMAICA2CANADA. COM — a Canadian immigration & education firm in Kingston. Send questions/comments to documents. jamaica2canada@gmail.com

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