A Winnipeg couple is warning Manitobans planning to travel out of province to take a good look at their vaccination cards before hitting the road.
Jonathan Morgan and his wife were on a trip to British Columbia last weekend when they found out their provincial immunization cards aren’t exactly alike.
And that caused a bit of confusion at a Vancouver restaurant, where vaccination card requirements recently came into effect.
“We were showing our cards at few different restaurants and, you know, every restaurant accepted them, it was fine, (but) then we got to this one restaurant and the guy checking said, ‘oh, your cards aren’t the same,'” Morgan told Global News after getting back to Winnipeg this week.
“That surprised me because I had never even really looked at my card before. And, yeah, they weren’t the same.”
When he took a closer look Morgan could plainly see what the server had noticed — where his wife’s card has “COVID-19 Vaccination Card” written across the top, his simply says “Immunization Card.”
Morgan says because the server wasn’t familiar with Manitoba’s cards, they assumed one might be a forgery, or that the one that didn’t say COVID-19 doesn’t actually prove immunization against the virus specifically.
“I said, well yeah, that’s fair,” he says now.
Luckily Morgan also had a screengrab of his vaccination records he was able to show the server, and the couple were eventually able to sit and eat their meal.
But he and his wife have both been fully vaccinated and both have valid cards, so why the difference?
A provincial spokesperson confirms there are two slightly different versions of the provincial proof of immunization cards mailed out to Mantiobans after receiving their second dose of vaccine.
They say the province’s first run of 500,000 cards were printed with “COVID-19” on the front, but, after pausing production in July, a decision was made to make the next run more general because “the cards may be used as a digital vaccination record or other health information more broadly in the months ahead.”
“This could include COVID-19 test results or proof of other immunizations,” the spokesperson explained.
“As such, the narrow reference to COVID-19 was removed, and cards going forward will not include a reference to COVID-19 on the physical card.”
Morgan says Manitobans travelling with another person should check to see that they have the same cards and bring a secondary proof of vaccination just in case.
He questions the province’s decision to change the cards and ultimately says he’d like to see a more standardized approach to proof of vaccination cards in Canada.
“From planning this trip we’ve realized, you know, there’s nothing consistent across the provinces in terms of how to prove your vaccination, so we just took what we thought was our best records,” he said.
“We had a couple of backups, but it would be nice if there was consistency to prove your vaccination across the country.”
Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.
To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus. In some provinces and municipalities across the country, masks or face coverings are now mandatory in indoor public spaces.
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