"I don't know how that'll work because we don't have vaccine passports," said Amanda Diodato, 28, a native Montrealer who's been living in Toronto for eight years. Diodato said she has parents, grandparents, friends, aunts and uncles in Montreal who she plans to visit.
"I don't want to drive six hours just to be turned around."
While Diodato is vaccinated, she said she's concerned about whether her proof of vaccination will be accepted as part of Quebec's passport system.
"I don't know if they're going to take my word for it. I could pull up my receipt on my email, but I don't know if they see that as the same. So really, it is a little bit stressful when travelling because I don't want to drive six hours just to be turned around or to just to stay locked up in my hotel room," she said.
Stacey Lapointe, a 24-year-old resident of Kingston, Ontario, told MTL Blog she plans to visit her in-laws and close friends in Montreal around September.
She said she's only managed to get one COVID-19 vaccine dose because she's had trouble finding an appointment for her second.
"I would strongly recommend that they come to visit me instead."
"I would feel like an inconvenience if I were the reason [...] that we could not attend shows, eat at restaurants or partake in some of the other social activities we enjoy doing during our visits that now require a passport," said Lapointe. "I would strongly recommend that they come to visit me instead."
Twitter is also full of questions and comments from people who want to know what the passport means for visitors to Quebec so they can cancel trips, flights and hotels if need be.
A waiting game
According to Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé, the government is working on a plan to provide access to vaccinated people from out-of-province. He said more information on the vaccine passport will be announced during the week of August 23.
In the meantime, there's nothing to do but wait— a feeling Diodato said many have grown accustomed to during the pandemic.
"It's the uncertainty that stresses people out [...] because they don't know. Like, in the past, when there were different restrictions, you would never know what they are because it changes on a daily basis," Diodato said.
"We kind of just need information and we're, like, logged into our phones or our computers, constantly trying to get me a little bit of information through all the nonsense that people are writing... cause there's a lot of that."
A recent post on the agency's official Twitter account states that "the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will now be named Comirnaty, the Moderna vaccine will be named SpikeVax, and the AstraZeneca vaccine will be named Vaxzevria."
(1/4) Health Canada has authorized brand name changes for the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines.
— Health Canada and PHAC (@Health Canada and PHAC)1631805234.0
Health Canada asserted that "these are only name changes. There are no changes to the vaccines themselves."
Canada has four approved vaccines: Comirnaty (Pfizer-BioNTech), SpikeVax (Moderna), Vaxzervia (AstraZeneca), and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson).
"All COVID-19 vaccines authorized in Canada are proven safe, effective and of high quality," Health Canada wrote on Twitter.
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.
Quebecers might remember the run-up to Halloween 2020, when, at the cusp of the third wave of COVID-19 infections, public health officials warned the holiday wouldn't resemble years past.
Though at least one municipality did cancel trick-or-treating, Quebec ended up releasing a list of Halloween rules that allowed children to go trick-or-treating with members of their own household — not with friends — but explicitly banned parties.
The Ministry of Health suggested that a similar list of rules and recommendations will come in 2021, though it didn't say what it would include or when we'll see it.
But Quebecers can at least expect the pandemic to once again influence their Halloween plans.
MTL Blog has confirmed with Elections Canada that no, you won't need to show your vaccine passport to vote in Montreal.
"Voters are not required to have their vaccine passport to vote," the agency's media relations confirmed. Polling stations are also not on the Government of Quebec's list of places that require the passport.
Why wait for election day? 🗳️
If you want to vote earlier, you can vote by mail or at any Elections Canada office… https://t.co/LHmUgjLKFW