You might've panicked the last time you went out and saw that your Quebec vaccine passport isn't up to date on VaxiCode — but don't worry! The good news is, you absolutely didn't miss another vaccine dose or else we already would've told you about it, dudes.
But why does it look like your VaxiCode app isn't up to date, and how do you fix that?
La preuve vaccinale d\u00e9j\u00e0 t\u00e9l\u00e9charg\u00e9e dans l\u2019application VaxiCode est tout \u00e0 fait valide. Il n\u2019y a pas de changement de ce c\u00f4t\u00e9. Le message qui apparait ne concerne que les personnes qui souhaitent utiliser leur preuve vaccinale pour voyager.
Nestled in an unsettling yellow box, the message reads, "The current version of your proof of vaccination is no longer up to date."
On November 8, the Ministry of Health and Social Services provided an explanation for this update.
Taking to Twitter, Santé Québec explained that "the proof of vaccination already downloaded in the VaxiCode app is completely valid. There is no change on this side."
And perhaps most reassuringly, "The message that appears only concerns people who wish to use their proof of vaccination to travel."
Quebec is providing a federally standardized version of the QR code that can be used when proof of vaccination is required for domestic and international travel. Quebecers can access this QR code through the provincial government website and upload it to VaxiCode.
So rejoice! You'll only need to "update" your QR code if you're planning on using it to access a mode of transport that will require proof of vaccination, such as a domestic or international flight or VIA Rail. If you aren't travelling anytime soon, don't worry.
Keep in mind that the vaccine passport rules are still in force throughout Quebec if you want to eat inside a restaurant or go to an event.
In Quebec, a vaccine passport is required to access many businesses and activities deemed non-essential, including restaurants and bars.
Starting November 30, unvaccinated travellers 12 and older won't be allowed to board a plane or get on a VIA Rail or Rocky Mountaineer train in Canada. It's no longer possible to offer a negative PCR test as a substitute for being vaccinated.
The change was first announced in early October by Justin Trudeau and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland. It established October 30 as the date by which the government would require all travellers departing from airports in Canada or taking a federally regulated train to be fully vaccinated.
However, the government permitted a short transition period from October 30 to November 29 in order to give travellers time to get vaccinated. During that time, unvaccinated travellers were able to provide a negative PCR test taken in the 72 hours before their trip.
But now that the grace period is over, travellers now need to be fully vaccinated, "with very limited exceptions."
The Government of Canada's website is clear about consequences for ignoring the updated rules: "If you indicate to your airline or railway company that you're eligible to board, but fail to provide proof of vaccination or valid COVID-19 test result, you won’t be allowed to travel and could face penalties or fines."
Some exemptions do apply for those who are travelling from remote communities or for a medical emergency, or for someone transiting through Canada on their way to another country. But even in the case of most exemptions, a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours before the trip is still required.
Quebec is diving into its campaign to vaccinate children between the ages of five and 11 against COVID-19. The government announced that vaccinations for this age group will begin on Wednesday, November 24 in the province's vaccination centres.
Appointments are available through Clic Santé.
Next, the vaccination campaign will take to the school system.
Starting on November 29, elementary schools will begin facilitating vaccinations.
While some schools will host vaccination clinics, others will be able to organize transport to another vaccination site.
The announcement of Quebec's campaign for five to 11-year-olds comes after Health Canada's approved the Pfizer vaccine for the age group. The government says there should be at least eight weeks between doses.
In a statement, the premier's office and the Ministry of Health and Social Services said vaccinating the estimated 650,000 Quebec children between the ages of 5 and 11 will further reduce the number of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations.
Premier Legault also previously stated that Quebec will end its health emergency, which has been in place since March 2020, once the age group had been largely vaccinated.
He said in October that that would be sometime at the beginning of 2022.
On Tuesday, Legault sought to reassure hesitant parents.
"It's normal to ask questions, to want to protect our children," he said. "but if the vaccination of our children comes much later than that of adolescents and adults, it's because scientists have taken the time to study the issue."
It seems as though the federal government is constantly updating Canada's travel rules, so we decided to put together a list of the newest changes to help make your life a little easier.
Although the new rules won't impact everyone, it's always good to stay up to date with them. Here are the answers to some questions you may have floating around in your head regarding the newest updates.
Has the list of accepted COVID-19 vaccines changed?
The Government of Canada will adjust some of Canada\u2019s border measures beginning on Nov. 30 to include additional #COVID19 vaccines accepted for entry to Canada and changes to certain exemptions, testing and #ArriveCAN requirements. \n\nFor more information: http://ow.ly/q38t50GScza\u00a0pic.twitter.com/XRvxE50wLT
— Health Canada and PHAC (@Health Canada and PHAC)
It will soon. Starting November 30, 2021, Canada will be expanding its list of accepted COVID-19 vaccines travellers can have received in order to be considered "fully vaccinated."
Sinopharm, Sinovac and COVAXIN are being added to Canada's list.
Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) will continue to be considered eligible vaccines as well.
So, travellers who leave and then re-enter Canada by land or air within three days won't have to take a PCR test before coming back to the country.
Luckily, this makes quick road trips across the border a little easier. For anyone who hopes to drive from Canada to the U.S. and back within 72 hours, no COVID-19 tests will be necessary since the United States does not require testing at its land borders.
However, if you're planning to fly to the U.S. from Canada, you'll still need a negative COVID-19 test, plus proof of full vaccination, to enter the States — no matter how long you plan on staying. Unlike Canada, the U.S. accepts antigen tests.
Have the rules for trips over 72 hours changed?
As of right now, no. The rules have not changed for those leaving Canada for longer than 72 hours.
If your trip outside of Canada lasts more than 72 hours, you must provide a negative pre-entry molecular (PCR) test taken in the 72 hours before arriving. Antigen tests are still not accepted.
Testing restrictions also have not loosened for unvaccinated and partially vaccinated travellers.
The government recently announced that some travellers who were previously exempt from entry requirements will be required to be fully vaccinated in order to enter Canada as of January 15, 2022.
This includes international students aged 18 and over, professional and amateur athletes, individuals with valid work permits and essential service providers, including truck drivers.
It will also apply to "individuals travelling to reunite with family," although eligible unvaccinated children travelling for this reason will remain exempt.
What's happening with Canada's vaccine passport?
Vaccination against COVID-19 is becoming a requirement for both domestic and international travel in Canada starting November 30, 2021. This means a negative COVID-19 test will no longer be accepted as an alternative to full vaccination.
So if you're hoping to go see your family in another province for Christmas, you'll have to be fully vaccinated.
This new rule won't apply to cases where an individual has a valid medical exemption.
Anyone hoping to take a trip within or outside of the country should look into downloading Canada's vaccine passport for travel, which is now available in all of the provinces and territories except Alberta.
Before you get going, check our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your trip.
This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.
Do you need a third dose? Do you need a whole new vaccine passport? Our colleagues at Narcity Québec contacted the Ministry of Health to clear this all up for you.
Mon coll\u00e8gue Christian Dub\u00e9 a annonc\u00e9 aujourd'hui de nouvelles consignes pour la vaccination au Qu\u00e9bec. Une dose de rappel sera offerte aux personnes de 70 ans et plus ainsi qu'aux personnes ayant re\u00e7u deux doses d'AstraZeneca/Covishield. \n\nPour tous les d\u00e9tailspic.twitter.com/D2slMYXgfi
You might've heard that Health Minister Christian Dubé recently announced that the province is recommending a third dose or booster shot for people aged 80 and older and people who have received two doses of Astra-Zeneca/COVIDShield or Johnson & Johnson.
People aged 70-79 can also opt to get a third dose.
"Since this protection [offered by a vaccine] tends to decrease slightly among people aged 80 and over, we want to ensure that we better protect these people, as well as those who had opted for two doses of viral vector vaccine, which have a slightly lower efficacy," Health Minister Christian Dubé said in the statement.
The health ministry made no suggestion that people under 70 who already have two doses of an mRNA vaccine such as Pfizer or Moderna will need to get a third dose as of yet.
In a statement shared with Narcity Québec, the ministry assured that people who get a third dose will not need to download a new proof of vaccination.
The government considers you adequately vaccinated if you've had two vaccine doses.
So rest easy, folks — if you're under 70 and already fully vaccinated with an mRNA vaccine, you're good to go.