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By Hunter Cresswell

No, the “vaccine passport” isn’t a booklet like some people had as a child to show they’ve had the required vaccinations for elementary school, nor is it like a traditional passport for international travel. Simply put, it’s a QR – quick response – code that contains all the information needed to determine if someone is adequately vaccinated.

Last week The Low Down received a call from a senior up the line who pitched a story about how the Low CLSC wasn’t giving out “vaccine passports,” which began being required to gain entry into some non-essential businesses, such as gyms, bars, restaurants, movie theatres, and more.

This reporter explained to the senior that the provincial health clinics don’t give out proof of vaccinations, and that while it’s called a “vaccine passport” it’s not an actual passport in the traditional sense.

The senior said that fact should be explained clearly in a story.

The Gatineau Hills has an aging population and the rollout of the vaccine passports has been difficult for even some Gen X-ers and older millennials who must either navigate the provincial vaccine passport application for smartphones or keep the QR code laminated or un-folded and on-hand when going out.

The QR code – it looks like a square barcode with black and white patterns – that people can get online or by phone, only contains the name of the person vaccinated, their date of birth, when they were vaccinated, and which vaccine brand they received during each jab.

Non-essential businesses are required by Quebec to scan patrons’ QR codes and verify that they are fully vaccinated. Patrons are also required to show a piece of photo identification to verify who they are in relation to the QR code, such as a driver’s license.

Unvaccinated people ordering takeout may still enter a business to pick up their order, but can’t dine-in. If you have been vaccinated twice against COVID-19 and don’t have your QR code, visit covid19.quebec.ca/preuvevaccinale and fill out the form. Once completed, you can download and print your proof of vaccination. This printed document will contain the necessary QR code.

The Quebec COVID-19 website advises people to laminate their proof of vaccination or otherwise avoid folding or crinkling the QR code on the printout. The QR code can also be saved as a PDF on a smartphone.

If you don’t have access to the internet or a printer, call 1-877-644-4545 to ask for your proof of vaccination to be mailed to you. With your QR code in-hand, another option is downloading the provincial VaxiCode application from the Apple App Store for iPhones or from the Google Play Store for Androids. The application accesses your device’s camera when you add a proof of vaccination, so point the camera at the QR code and all the information in the code will be loaded into the app. Then you can just show the QR code from the VaxiCode app when going out to eat or to a movie.

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