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Canada launches proof of vaccination credential for international travel

By Paula Newton, CNN

Canada is launching a standardized proof of vaccination credential in the coming weeks for both domestic and international travel.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement outside a children’s hospital in Ottawa Thursday, saying Canada is among the world’s leaders in vaccination rates and Canadians want to begin traveling again.

“As Canadians look to start traveling again, there will be a standardized proof of vaccination certificate,” said Trudeau during a news conference with reporters adding, “we’ve worked very closely with airline operators to ensure that it is as easy and seamless a process as possible.”

The vaccine credential, provided by provincial and territorial health departments, will show a name, date of birth, and a Covid-19 vaccine history including the type of vaccine received, doses and the dates those doses were administered.

Canada says the Covid-19 proof of vaccination was designed with a common look in mind, even though it will be issued by each province or territory and it will include Canada’s “wordmark” emblem.

Government officials say this will allow other countries and transportation providers, such as airlines and cruise ship operators, to recognize this credential as a trusted Canadian document.

They add that Canada will continue to engage with the World Health Organization and allies around the world to ensure the credential is accepted as proof of vaccination.

So far, many, but not all Canadian provinces and territories have introduced proof of vaccination apps with QR codes for some workers and for entry to many public venues.

This new credential will also help Canada enforce one of the toughest vaccine mandates for domestic travel anywhere in the world beginning October 30.

At that time, all travelers 12 years of age and older departing from Canadian airports, or boarding the national rail carrier, VIA Rail, will be required to show proof of full vaccination in order to travel. For the month of November only, travelers will be permitted to show a negative Covid-19 molecular test within 72 hours of travel as an alternative.

Despite high vaccine uptake, Trudeau says he hopes this new credential will encourage even more Canadians to get vaccinated.

Canada has been dealing with pockets of vaccine resistance, especially in the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan, where lower vaccination rates have helped fuel a punishing fourth wave of the virus, overwhelming hospitals and intensive care units.

According to Health Canada, by early October, at least 72% of Canadians were fully vaccinated with about 82% of those eligible fully vaccinated.

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