Quebec's Ministry of Health and Social Services (MSSS) has issued a "call for vigilance," warning that fake vaccine passport apps have become available on the Google Play store.
"According to the information received, people have copied the visual developed for the VaxiCode app and have succeeded in having these fake applications approved for download on Google Play," says an MSSS press release. "Steps were taken with Google to have the fake apps removed as soon as possible."
⚠️APPEL À LA VIGILANCE - Une fausse application liée au passeport vaccinal du Québec circule actuellement.
The ministry notes that — while this type of copying of popular apps is becoming an "increasingly frequent problem" — the issue has nothing to do with the "integrity or security" of the official apps, which continue to be "secure and ensure the protection of personal information."
To ensure you're downloading the legitimate, official government app, check that the name of the app is exactly correct. For citizens, it should be called exactly "VaxiCode" with no other words before or after. For the merchant, it should be called exactly "VaxiCode Verif" without any other word before or after and without any accent.
The real VaxiCode and VaxiCode Verif apps only require authorization to access the device's camera or files and images and nothing else. VaxiCode also has no ads.
The fake apps are fairly easy to identify because they won't allow you to download your QR code.
If you were thinking of using your Quebec QR code abroad or in other provinces, think again. You need to download another proof of vaccination from the government's self-service portal, which comes in a PDF format directly to your cell phone or by mail.
The government specified that this proof will be used to use your vaccination passport in all Canadian provinces, as well as in several American states and countries around the world. However, you are invited to inform yourself about the vaccination requirements of each place before travelling, as they change very quickly.
The current QR code cab only be used in Quebec, while this new proof of vaccination will be your ally for your future trips.
The government recommends that you download this proof of vaccination the day before you travel outside Quebec.
Remember that the land border with the United States will reopen on November 8.
Quebec's vaccine passport is in full force on Wednesday, September 15, as a two-week grace period comes to an end. The grace period was designed to give business owners and customers an opportunity to adapt, according to Health Minister Christian Dubé.
Fines for non-use of the passport did not apply in the first two weeks of September.
"I want to be very clear," the health minister said on August 24. "There are penalties and sanctions for inappropriate uses [and] there are sanctions in the criminal code for people who want to alter a document that's used by public health."
This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.