Vaccine card program extended until June

B.C. will continue to require residents to provide vaccine verification due to rising case numbers

The provincial vaccine card program is expected to continue until June 30 due to the alarming increase in case numbers across the province.

The vaccine card program is required for everyone aged 12 and up at cafes, restaurants, nightclubs, casinos, movie theatres, gyms, and other businesses. Proof of vaccination is also required at weddings, funeral receptions, and organized parties until June 30. The BC vaccine card program was ending on Jan. 31, but with the sharp number of cases the vaccine card program has been extended until June 30.

COVID variants are considered to be far more transmissible and prone to more breakthrough cases among fully vaccinated people.

The vaccine cards program started Sept.13, 2021, where proof of at least one dose was required, and later on Oct. 24 proof of both doses. The booster dose is not expected to be part of the vaccine card program.

Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, said “We still see that in people who are fully vaccinated, that mitigates that risk of both getting infected yourself and passing it on to others. It’s one tool that allows us to err on the side of having people watching the hockey game or in restaurants. It doesn’t eliminate the risk but it absolutely has been mitigating the risk.”

Keeping in mind that things are unpredictable with COVID, the vaccine cards could end before June 30.

“If we are in a better place before June 30th, we will look to make adjustments early,” Henry said.

Moreover, gyms in B.C. have opened their doors again but are going through strict health guidelines. Fitness centers and gyms need to ensure that people inside are at least two meters away from each other, both trainers and those working out are advised to wear their masks.

Sasha Keya, a third-year tourism student says, “I’m thrilled to be back at the fitness center as it helps me manage my free time in doing something I enjoy.”

Henry also announced that starting Feb. 1, youth sports tournaments can resume, while those for adults remain on hold. Henry emphasized that sports are needed for youth for their growth, development and future opportunities. In addition, “We have always prioritized making sure that young people are able to access that part of these important aspects of their life,” said Henry.

Also, as our pandemic evolves and Omicron brings these new challenges, BC is trying to evolve and do things in a better way since we have experience dealing with the virus. “We do know that even now with Omicron, some people are at much greater risk of hospitalization and severe illness, and we need to bear that in mind as we make these changes,” she said.