Quebec's vaccination passport app finally made available for Android users

Quebec’s vaccination passport is now available for Android phone users. But as the province prepares for the passport system to go into effect on Wednesday, advocates say the digital system could pose a problem for some people who are less tech savvy.

Organizations, health authorities extend tech help to seniors

Quebec's vaccination passport became available for some Android phone users on Monday afternoon. The system goes into effect Sept. 1 but the province won't enforce the rules until Sept. 15. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada)

Quebec's vaccination passport became available for Android phone users on Monday afternoon, only two days before the system goes into effect.

Users can find the app on the Google Play Store by searching for "VaxiCode."

The passport app has been on Apple's App Store since last Wednesday. 

Many non-essential businesses will start scanning vaccine passports on Sept. 1 but the province has put in place a two-week grace period for people and businesses to adapt.

Health Minister Christian Dubé said he found the Android delay a "little bit surprising," given that the apps were presented to both Google and Apple at the same time.

Dubé stressed that a printed version or digital version of the QR code is also valid for those who don't yet have their QR code uploaded to the app, or who don't have a smartphone altogether. 

He said 5.5 million people have downloaded their QR code, which provides proof they are fully vaccinated. Far fewer people — 1.3 million — have downloaded the app. 

In all, 86 per cent of Quebec's eligible population has had one shot of vaccine and 78 per cent are considered adequately vaccinated.

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Push to help seniors access app, get documents

As the province prepares for the passport system to go into effect, advocates say the digital system could pose a problem for some people who are less tech savvy.

To that end, local organizations and health authorities are stepping up to guide people through the process of finding their documents or downloading the VaxiCode app.

In Montreal, staff at the Décarie Square and Parc-Extension vaccination clinics were assisting people on Monday.

"There's really a mix … we have younger people, older people — some people are less familiar with computers," said Lucie Tremblay, director of nursing and vaccination for the CIUSSS West-Central Montreal regional health authority.

Tremblay says people can also call the COVID-19 hotline (1-877-644-4545), and someone will walk them through the steps to download their code.

Shawn Bourdages, executive director of the Duff-Court Neighborhood Life Committee in Montreal, says he intends to support seniors in the upcoming days, but he hopes that the government will find a solution to avoid excluding people who can't figure out the passport system.

He says not all neighbourhoods are lucky enough to have community organizations to help them. Therefore, he believes pharmacies or clinics should offer to print proof of vaccination for those that don't have the means to.

The City of Côte Saint-Luc is offering a service where people can call the library, go there in person or visit the parks and recreation office to get help with downloading their QR code, or getting a printed copy.

With files from Radio-Canada