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B.C.’s vaccine card expected to extend past January; officials look at medical exemptions

No exemptions had previously been allowed as vaccine cards were time-limited program
Ravi Kahlon, B.C. Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation, has his provincial COVID-19 vaccine card scanned by White Spot restaurant general manager Bill Warwick, before having breakfast in Delta, B.C., on Wednesday, September 15, 2021. British Columbia’s COVID-19 vaccine card system went into effect Monday. Anyone who wants access to a range of non-essential indoor services must show proof of at least one dose of vaccine, with a second shot required by Oct. 24. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

The province has begun developing a medical exemption process for the B.C. vaccine card, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced Tuesday (Dec. 14).

Henry said that the vaccine card system, which had been set to expire at the end of January 2022, could be extended as the number of Omicron cases in the province swell to 44 and modelling shows that the province can expect more than 1,000 cases a day by the end of December.

“I do expect that it is going to be longer than January, so we have started a process to be able to get people a valid B.C. vaccine card for the B.C. vaccine program with a medical exemption,” she said, bit added that it is a “slow process.”

Henry’s comments came after recent media reports of individuals who were unable to get a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine due to a bad reaction to the first.

The provincial health officer however cautioned that even if an individual does get an exemption for B.C.’s vaccine card system, where two doses are required for those ages 12 and up to get into such non-essential venues as restaurants, ticketed sporting events and fitness facilities, it’s not yet known what that will mean for the federal proof of vaccination system which governs travel.

Two doses of a federally recognized COVID-19 vaccine are needed in order to board a plane, train or cruise ship in Canada.

Health Minister Adrian Dix noted that 1,715 people will be sent letters regarding their failed “suspicious” attempts to upload vaccination records into the B.C. immunization registry.

“Letters will be personally addressed and encourage them to get vaccinated,” Dix said. “Records entered into the registry are reviewed under strict processes to prevent fraud and to ensure people entered into the provincial system have in fact been vaccinated.”

Suspected fraudulent records are reported to law enforcement, he added.

Dix said that the Provincial Health Services Authority will work with the “small number” of British Columbians who are vaccinated but unable to upload their records into the registry.

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