“Vaccine certificates” could help Ontario reopen sooner, according to Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table.

In its briefing Wednesday, the Ford government’s science advisors included vaccine certification among its recommendations to the province.

The science table claims that a “vaccine certificate” is different from a vaccine passport.

“A vaccine passport provides proof of vaccination status for the purpose of travel across international borders … a verifiable attestation by an issuing body, for example, the Province of Ontario, that a person received an approved and complete series of COVID-19 vaccines,” the brief reads.

The science table believes “vaccine certificates” would be helpful on a short-term basis so that higher risk settings can reopen sooner. The group of scientists and health experts identify settings such as indoor dining and gyms as high-risk settings.

On a long-term basis, the brief says “vaccine certificates” could serve as a way to show immunization records. 

“Given the anticipated seasonality of [COVID-19], as well as the possibility of additional variants of concern, establishing … [a] COVID-19 vaccine certification may be useful if public health measures need to be reintroduced,” the briefing reads. 

Ontario already administers paper slips as proof of vaccination upon receiving a vaccine dose. Vaccination status can also be viewed and downloaded online.

Last week, Ontario Premier Doug Ford came out strongly against the idea of a vaccine passport. 

“The answer is no, we’re not gonna do it. We’re not gonna have a split society,” Ford said.

Toronto Mayor John Tory said he would be in favour of a “vaccine certificate.” 

“The bottom line is that if there are people including [the] government who are going to ask you to show that you’ve been vaccinated or not as just a practical means, then the same government, the provincial government in this case, has to provide something to people to be able to show they’ve been vaccinated,” Tory told CP24.

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