For almost two years, British Columbians have had to take certain measures to keep themselves, their families, and their communities safe from COVID-19 – including testing, physical distancing, limiting or avoiding non-essential services and travel, mask-wearing, and most recently, vaccines. Now, another layer of protection will soon be coming into effect. Starting September 13th, and by order of Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, British Columbians aged 12 and older will be required to show proof of at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccination (two doses by October 24th) if they want to access certain services, businesses, and events.
“Where will I be required to show proof of vaccination?”
You will need to show proof of vaccination if you want to access the following:
• Indoor ticketed sporting events, concerts, theatre, dance and symphony performances
• Indoor and outdoor dining at restaurants, bars and pubs
• Nightclubs and casinos
• Movie theatres
• Gyms (including high-intensity group exercise), recreation facilities and pools
• Indoor organized recreational classes and activities
• Indoor organized gatherings (i.e., weddings, funerals, parties, meetings, workshops)
• Post-secondary on-campus student housing
“How will I be able to access my vaccine card?”
Starting September 13th, British Columbians will be able to visit a secure website to access their vaccine card. From there, you will be able to save your vaccine to your smartphone for easy access and show it when accessing any of the aforementioned services, businesses, or events. If you do not have access to a smartphone, British Columbians will also have the option of receiving a paper copy of their vaccine card. In order to access your vaccine card, you will need to provide proof of identity – including your name, date of birth, and personal health number. To prepare and confirm your immunization records, it is recommended that you register for Health Gateway. (This secure website also provides you with information on healthcare visits and recently filled prescriptions.) If you believe any of your information on Health Gateway is incorrect, you should call 1-833-838-2323 (available 7 days a week from 7 AM to 7 PM PST.)
“Do I still need to show proof of vaccination if I’m visiting from outside of British Columbia?”
If you are visiting British Columbia from another province or territory, you will be required to show valid government identification from that province or territory in addition to an officially recognized vaccination record. If you are an international visitor, you will need to show proof of vaccination used to enter Canada, in addition to showing your passport.
“What if I cannot get (or am not yet fully) vaccinated, or do not want a vaccine?”
Because this is a temporary measure to help British Columbians get through this risky period of COVID-19 – particularly with the highly contagious and rapidly spreading Delta variant – Dr. Bonnie Henry has stated that there are no plans at this time for exemptions to be made for unvaccinated individuals who want to access discretionary services, businesses or events where the vaccine card will be required.
“If I’m not yet vaccinated but want to get a vaccine, where do I go?”
British Columbians who are not yet vaccinated (or not yet fully vaccinated) and want to be, can register for their vaccine by clicking here.
“Will I need to show proof of vaccination each and every time I want to access these things?”
For the time being, yes, you will be required to show your vaccine card when wanting to access discretionary services, business or events. The vaccine card program is set to expire on January 31st, 2022; however, it is subject to extension depending on where things are with COVID-19 in our province at that time.