Expert urges Canada to ‘follow the science’ on COVID-19 vaccine passports – National – .

Expert urges Canada to ‘follow the science’ on COVID-19 vaccine passports – National – .

After a theater in the United States temporarily banned those who had received Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines from attending a performance, an expert warns that this may be just the tip of the iceberg in this which concerns potential problems with vaccine passports.

On Saturday, Jujamcyn Theaters, the company behind a Broadway production starring Bruce Springsteen, turned the tide, saying members of the public who received AstraZeneca’s photo would be welcome in their audience.

The theater had previously said those who wanted to see “Springsteen on Broadway” would need proof of vaccination with a vaccine approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration.

The AstaZeneca photo has not yet received the green light from the agency.

However, it has been approved for use in Canada and over 2.92 million doses have been delivered to provinces and territories.

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Kerry Bowman, professor of bioethics and global health at the University of Toronto, said the “Springsteen on Broadway” incident is a “classic example” of what vaccine passports do.

“They divide, they are bureaucratic, and they are often not based on evidence,” he said. “If you’re wondering from a scientific standpoint, are people vaccinated with AstraZeneca at a higher risk than other people in this audience? Absolutely not. “

What did the Canadian government say?

Speaking at a press conference on Friday, Trudeau said the federal government was working on “two tracks” in terms of proof of vaccination for Canadians wishing to travel.

The initial phase, he said, will use the ArriveCan app, an app that allows travelers to digitally provide contact and quarantine information.

“(The) initial phase will be asking people to upload an image of proof of vaccination so that border officials can verify when they return to Canada,” Trudeau said.

The prime minister said more details would be available in the coming weeks.

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According to Trudeau, the federal government is also working with the provinces to “establish a national standard for vaccination certification,” which could be ready in the fall.

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However, it is not clear what proof of vaccination Canada will accept from those seeking entry.

Speaking at a press conference Tuesday, Canada’s Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc said the federal government “is working with allies, obviously, in the European Union, the United States and others to find the most appropriate way to recognize proof of vaccination for them want to travel abroad.

“Follow the science”

Bowman said the development of vaccine passports where some vaccines are accepted and others not could potentially “exacerbate already very difficult geopolitical tensions.”

He pointed out that COVID-19 vaccines are being distributed in China and Russia, adding that if they are not accepted globally, it could lead to significant global problems.

“And, you know, we have enough geopolitical issues like with the Russian Federation and China,” he said. “We no longer need to create tension.

Bowman also said the idea of ​​vaccine passports could “freak people out about what kind of vaccine they are going to get” and encourage “vaccine buying.”

It could also create problems of inequality, he explained.

Bowman said what could be perceived is that low-income countries will receive “preferred or non-B-list vaccines,” like AstraZeneca.

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“So (they would be) acceptable for low income countries (but) not acceptable for rich countries like Canada,” he said. “Etc …”

“It’s a very negative and destructive message. “

At the end of the day, what Canada should do, Bowman said, is “follow the science”.
“What we need to define is: what are the acceptable thresholds for any vaccine? Did the person have it or not, ”he said, instead of only accepting vaccines approved in Canada.
Bowman added, however, that there has been a lack of “clear global leadership” when it comes to vaccine passports.

“There is no country that has really stepped up globally to try to coordinate things,” he said. “The WHO has done what it can, I guess, but it’s pretty overwhelmed on this front, (and) we don’t have clear guidelines. “

Canada-US border

For now, the federal government continues to urge Canadians not to travel unless absolutely necessary.

In addition, on Friday, Canada’s Minister of Public Safety announced that the Canada-U.S. Border will remain closed to all non-essential travelers until July 21.

“Our number one priority in our fight against # COVID19 is to protect Canadians,” Blair wrote in a tweet.

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“As we said, the government is planning measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents and others currently allowed to enter Canada and will provide more details on Monday June 21,” he tweeted. .

Bowman said when the border reopens, U.S. officials could allow Canadian travelers to enter the country, but only those who have received a vaccine other than AstraZeneca.

“I don’t believe they will do that,” he said. “But we don’t know either. “

At the end of last month, US Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the agency was “examining very closely” the possibility of vaccine passports as the coronavirus pandemic abates and Americans begin to travel abroad.

Mayorkas added, however, that a guiding principle during the pandemic has been to “ensure that any passport we provide for vaccinations is accessible to all and that no one is deprived of their rights.”

-With files from Katie Dangerfield of Global News, The Canadian Press and The Associated Press

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© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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