As vaccination targets are being met from coast to coast, many Canadians remain reluctant to be vaccinated against COVID-19. While 75% of the population over the age of 12 is fully vaccinated in Quebec, there are still 25% who are not and here are some of the reasons why.
According to the most recent Leger survey, published on Friday, August 20, and conducted among 1,515 respondents, a minority of them said they do not intend to be vaccinated.
The survey revealed that 71% of respondents who do not plan to get vaccinated "do not believe the vaccines are safe," while 20% think "the COVID-19 vaccines are only a ruse from the governments to exert control" and 10% simply "do not believe in vaccines."
Véronique Comtois, a spokesperson for the SPVM, told MTL Blog that there were no fines handed out during the protest and no arrests made as of Sunday at 12 p.m. But, two incidents that occurred at Saturday's protest remain "under investigation" — one act of mischief and another involving a fire in a chemical toilet.
🇨🇦 Canada - Montréal [September 11, 2021]
Protest in Montréal today, against the vaccine passports and mandates.… https://t.co/pyRYmfeWaB
Quebec's vaccine passport has officially been in full force since September 1. While countless businesses have embraced the new system as a means of public safety, other Montreal restaurants have opted to close their dining rooms rather than enforce proof of vaccination.
A couple of restaurant owners have also said they would welcome anyone, regardless of vaccine status, choosing to ignore the government's mandate and deal with the repercussions instead.
This Vietnamese café in Saint-Henri posted that it would be closing its dining room the day the vaccine passport came into effect.
Le Jerk Spot Montreal
In a video posted to Le Jerk Spot's Instagram page, owner Rex Patel says the team has made an "executive decision" not to check vaccine passports "because we don't believe in that." In order to still be legal, he said they will not allow customers to dine in the restaurant.
Caffè Roma, an Italian café in Villeray, posted that it would open its doors to vaccinated and non-vaccinated people while respecting health measures.
This Italian restaurant in Montreal-Nord said it's closing its dining room so as to not support "discrimination with a vaccine passport."
Le Petit Vibe
Côte-des-Neiges Hawaiian-Filipino restaurant Le Petit Vibe announced it would only be offering take-out and delivery due to the vaccine passport. Co-owner Willson Luu told MTL Blog that "everyone has their right to choose whether they wanted to get vaccinated" and that the government should hire its own "enforcers" instead of asking the restaurant industry to do the job.
Amelias Pizza on rue Milton said it would shut its dining room due to a combination of staff shortages and the "desire to respect the privacy" of its customers. It's still open for takeout and delivery.
Tony Campanelli, who owns Adamo's Pizzeria in Saint-Henri as well as Bar de Courcelle, posted an Instagram story saying, "We will continue to welcome all our clients [...] and vigorously contest all fines. It's not law until it's debated democratically." Adamo's Instagram account shared the same story.
Campanelli told MTL Blog that, as a take-out pizza counter, the restaurant was never required to scan its clients' QR codes. He also said the team agrees with most of the government's COVID-19 measures, but not the vaccine passport.
"We are not conspiracy theorists or anti-vaxxers. For the record, we are all fully vaccinated and work behind a glass barrier," he said. "What we stand against is being mandated to police our fellow citizens and clients. [...] There are more people in a metro car stuck together than there will ever be in any of our places, but the STM doesn't ask for passports."
It's important to note that Bar de Courcelle has posted that proof of vaccination is mandatory there.
In Quebec, a vaccine passport is required to access many businesses and activities deemed non-essential, including restaurants and bars.
With Quebec's vaccine passport system officially in effect, the Ministry of Health and Social Services has outlined two groups that can get vaccine passports even though they don't meet the typical requirements.
Those with "contraindications" that prevent them from getting a COVID-19 vaccine and those who participated in Medicago's clinical trial are being considered "exceptional cases," according to a press release from the ministry.
Dès ajd, il faut présenter son code QR pour des activités et services non-essentiels. Les 2 proch sem serviront de… https://t.co/CBrnAO1vFs
A contraindication is a condition that significantly increases the risk of serious side effects from a vaccine. According to the ministry's website, this includes people with suppressed immune systems due to cancer or HIV.
If you had an immediate severe allergic reaction to your first vaccine dose, you might also qualify as having a contraindication.
To get a vaccine passport, people with contraindications will bring proof of their contraindication — which must be certified by a health professional authorized to make a diagnosis — to a vaccination clinic. A new option will soon be available for this on Clic Santé, the ministry said.
Once entered into the registry, these individuals will get a QR code. "The protection status of these individuals will be displayed in green, allowing them to access and participate in activities that require the vaccine passport," reads the ministry's statement.
Similarly, people who participated in the Medicago Inc. clinical trial for the research and development of a COVID-19 vaccine will receive a QR code despite Medicago not being one of five vaccines recognized by the Quebec government for the purposes of the vaccine passport.
The recognized vaccines are double doses of Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca or Covishield or one dose of Johnson & Johnson.
The ministry said Medicago participants will receive more details shortly.
Health Canada has a robust website with all the latest information on the vaccine and can answer any questions you may have. Click here for more information.
It's September 1, 2021, which means Quebec's vaccine passport is officially up and running.
From now on, all Quebecers age 13 and up will be required to show proof of vaccination in order to get into certain non-essential businesses and to participate in certain activities.
However, while the vaccine passport enters force on September 1, there will be a grace period until September 15. Authorities will not give out penalties or fines during that period.
You can download your QR code proof of vaccination by visiting the health ministry's self-service portal. You can then upload the QR code to the province's VaxiCode app, have a PDF version on your phone, or print out a paper copy to show to businesses and events that require it.
Keep in mind that you will also need to show a photo ID along with your proof of vaccination.
You can read about the full list of businesses and activities that require the vaccine passport here.
It won't be required everywhere, however. You can read about which places won't ask for a vaccine passport here.