Paper COVID-19 vaccination receipts will still be good after Oct. 22, Ontario government confirms
Senior worried about proof-of-vaccination requirements for those without mobile phones
Vaccinated people in Ontario will still be able to use their paper vaccine receipts to prove they've been vaccinated against COVID-19, even after the new digital vaccine passport rolls out later this month, a government spokesperson confirmed.
That's something Elizabeth Aegard, 79, was worried about.
She lives in Thunder Bay, Ont., and does not have a mobile phone.
"I was most concerned that I would not be allowed in various places with just my paper proof," she said.
Since the province's proof of vaccination requirements came into effect on September 22, Aegard said she's been using a laminated copy of the vaccine receipt she received after getting her second shot.
When she heard that the province will be rolling out a new digital vaccination passport on October 22, Aegard said she tried calling around to see if her paper copy would still work.
"I couldn't find an answer," she said.
But Aegard also didn't want to purchase a mobile phone only for the purposes of carrying her proof of vaccination. She previously had a cellphone for about a year, but said it remained pretty much unused.
"So I decided that the minimum cost of $250, that was just not in my budget."
CBC News put Aegard's question to the Ontario government.
"After October 22, 2021, in addition to proof of identity, a patron may present a paper or digital version of the PDF receipt or a paper or digital version of the enhanced vaccine certificate with QR code to gain access to designated settings," said Alexandra Hilkene, the press secretary for Ontario's health minister, in an emailed statement.
Hilkene added people can go to their local libraries or ServiceOntario centres, or they can call Ontario's vaccine contact centre if they need help to print their proof of vaccination.
Aegard said the news comes as a big relief.
"It was disconcerting to sit and wonder whether you would be allowed in a restaurant or a concert if you didn't have the mobile phone proof," she said.
Aegard added it's felt like provincial and federal governments have assumed that everyone in Canada owns a mobile phone.
"That is not true," she said, explaining that many seniors she knows either can't afford to pay for a mobile phone, or simply don't want to learn how to use a new device.