Vaccine card: B.C.’s last major COVID-19 measure lifted

Click to play video: 'COVID-19: Vaccine card no longer in place in B.C.'
COVID-19: Vaccine card no longer in place in B.C.
You can now dine in a restaurant, go to an indoor sporting event and access other non-essential services without proving your vaccine status in B.C.. The province has lifted it's vaccine card mandate which was the last remaining COVID-19 measure. As Richard Zussman reports, not everyone is happy about it – Apr 8, 2022

The B.C. vaccine card is no longer in effect as of 12:01 a.m. Friday, making it the last major COVID-19 measure to be removed in the province.

Residents no longer have to show proof of vaccination to eat at a restaurant, go to a sporting event, and access other non-essential services.

However, businesses are still allowed to ask and check for vaccine cards, and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said earlier this week that many have expressed an interest in doing so.

“It’s just time. We can move on without a vaccine card and be just as safe before or after the vaccine card as we were before,” Ian Tostenson, president of the BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association, told 980 CKNW’s Jill Bennett this week, adding it’s good timing with the tourist season about to ramp up.

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Click to play video: 'B.C. moves to weekly ‘surveillance’ approach to COVID-19 data reporting'
B.C. moves to weekly ‘surveillance’ approach to COVID-19 data reporting

Not everyone agrees with dropping the vaccine card requirement.

Dr. Lyne Filiatrault told The Canadian Press the end of the vaccine card after the lifting of the mask mandate on March 11 sends the wrong message as the highly transmissible BA.2 subvariant of Omicron is spreading quickly.

“We think there’s going to be another BA.2 wave and we don’t think it’s going to be any different than what other jurisdictions are seeing, like Ontario and Quebec, because we’re making the same errors,” said Filiatrault, who speaks for Protect Our Province BC, a group of health-care professionals, scientists and advocates calling for evidence-based policies.

Read more: B.C. moves to weekly ‘surveillance’ approach to COVID-19 data reporting

Read next: ‘We have to move quickly’: Health workers urge premiers to accept Ottawa’s health deal

Click to play video: 'COVID-19: B.C. learns to live with the virus'
COVID-19: B.C. learns to live with the virus

Meanwhile, B.C. health officials released their first update Thursday under a new model that will see COVID-19 data released weekly instead of daily.

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The updates will include data covering a one-week period up to the prior Saturday. The BC Centre for Disease Control’s COVID-19 dashboard will also move to weekly updates, which include a census of the number of people in hospital and intensive care.

The first weekly report on Thursday covers the period from March 27 to April 2, while the dashboard is accurate as of April 7.

READ MORE: COVID-19: Five fewer cases in hospital as end of B.C.’s vaccine passport approaches

According to the Ministry of Health, the new model reflects a “surveillance” approach, as used with other respiratory illnesses such as the flu, rather than “case management” approach, and is focused on “identifying meaningful changes in COVID-19 trends over time across different regions of the province.”

 – with files from Global News’ Simon Little and Janet Brown and The Canadian Press

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