British Columbia

Can an out-of-province student get a vaccine card? Your questions about B.C.'s vaccine cards answered

CBC News asked readers for their questions about B.C.'s vaccine cards. These are the answers to the most common questions we received.

Requirement to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination in place from Sept. 13 until at least Jan. 31

A graphic from the B.C. government promoting its new vaccine card. Proof of vaccination will be required to access some non-essential businesses and services from Sept. 13 until Jan. 31, 2022. (Government of British Columbia)

More than 1.7 million people in B.C. have downloaded the province's vaccine card as proof of their COVID-19 vaccination status. As of today, some non-essential services, businesses and events will be requiring proof of vaccination. 

CBC News asked readers for their questions about the card. Scroll down to find answers to the most common questions we received.

(If you're looking for basics around the vaccine card process, including where you'll need your card and how to download it, you can find those answers here.)

What if the name on my vaccine card doesn't match my government ID?

Adults aged 19 and over will need to show a piece of government-issued photo ID along with their vaccine card. If your immunization record is wrong and your name doesn't match your other identification, you can call 1-833-838-2323 to have it corrected.

How do I download my vaccine card to my phone without taking a screenshot?

Initially, it wasn't possible, but the province has now added a button reading "Save a copy" that will allow you to download an image file to your device.

Is a screenshot enough?

Yes.

Why can't I have my card saved on the B.C. Services app?

The province did not provide an explanation when asked by CBC News. The B.C. Vaccine Card is not saved in the B.C. Services Card app at this time.

Is the vaccine card compatible with Apple Wallet?

No it isn't. The province says you can only save a screenshot of the QR code to your phone and you cannot upload screenshots to the wallet.

Is it a one-time QR code or permanent?

Permanent.

Will this apply to cabs, ride-hailing and public transit?

No, you will not need to show proof to board taxis and rideshare services, buses, SkyTrain or SeaBus.

What about museums and libraries?

The province says museums and libraries do not require proof of vaccination, however these settings will still require existing COVID-19 health and safety protocols such as mask wearing.

Is the card required for an outdoor wedding on someone's private property?

For an outdoor wedding, no. Any organized events taking place indoors with 50 or more people — including weddings — do require proof of vaccination. 

What about youth hockey or other sports at a recreation centre? Can they mandate this pass for youth and families?

You don't need to show proof to access indoor youth recreational sports for people aged 19 and under, according to the province.

Is there a risk of people hacking the system and creating fake records?

The province says it is taking steps to prevent fraudulent activity related to the cards. This includes scanning the card with a secure QR code and a requirement to show identification.

The Ministry of Health said QR codes follow SMART card standards and can only be scanned and read by SMART card scanner technology. The SMART Card standards require that the B.C. QR code includes a digitally encrypted signature and key to validate it.

"Businesses in B.C. must use the B.C. Vaccine Verifier app and a forged QR code would be flagged as it would not include this key," the ministry said in an email to CBC News.

To protect your privacy and prevent fraud, do not post your QR code online.

What about B.C. residents who've received an unapproved vaccine overseas?

If you received a vaccine that is not approved by Health Canada, you won't be able to get a B.C. vaccine card. The system is designed to work with your record of receiving at least one dose of a vaccine approved for use in Canada.

If you got one or two doses of an approved vaccine in another province, territory or country, you'll need to register with the Get Vaccinated provincial registration system and submit proof of an official immunization record. You can do that here.

Those with further questions can call 1-833-838-2323.

B.C. Premier John Horgan shows his immunization record card after receiving a dose of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine in April. (Chad Hipolito/Canadian Press)

Why will the immunization record card not be considered valid after Sept. 26?

The yellow and blue immunization record card is only being accepted as proof temporarily "to give everyone time to get their B.C. Vaccine Card," according to the province.

Will we be able to remove masks in facilities that require vaccine cards?

Masks are still required in all public indoor settings for all people aged 12 and older.

The province said the provincial health order mandating masks will be reassessed once B.C.'s vaccine card system is fully implemented on Oct. 24.

Do you need a B.C. personal health number? Can an out-of-province student get a vaccine card without one?

Out-of-province students can use their proof of vaccination from their home province, territory or country, but the province recommends getting a vaccine card. To do so, they must have their immunization record added to the provincial system as soon as they arrive in B.C. by following these steps.

How does it work for newcomers with proof of full vaccination in their original country?

People arriving from outside Canada will be required to show the proof of vaccination they used to enter the country, like ArriveCAN, along with their passport.

Will a federal "vaccine passport" take over B.C.'s cards?

The province is working with the federal government and other provinces and territories on a process to get a proof-of-vaccination certificate for international use for Canadians.

The design will depend on the criteria required for international travel, which has not yet been declared. The province says it is waiting for decisions from Ottawa on the final design of a federal vaccination certificate. 

B.C.'s vaccine card system is set to be in place until Jan. 31, 2022 but could be extended.  

With files from Chad Pawson and Rhianna Schmunk

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