COVID-19 vaccination documentation planning in ‘infancy’ in Manitoba

WINNIPEG — It is not clear yet how Manitobans can prove they have been vaccinated against COVID-19, but public health is in the early stages of working on it.

“We are in the infancy of this,” said Dr. Jazz Atwal, the acting deputy chief provincial public health officer.

Dr. Atwal says no documentation is being given out at the moment to Manitobans receiving COVID-19 vaccinations. He added that the early stages of planning has started with other provinces and the Public Health Agency of Canada.

“We’re going to work with our partners to see what the solution is. Is it a provincial solution? Is it a federal solution?”

Passenger rights advocate Gabor Lukacs says it is clear the best solution for Canadians would be a single system.

“Not like a driver’s licence where you need to switch when you move to a different province, but a single document that is issued perhaps by a province, but under federal delegated authority possibly,” said Lukacs.

Lukacs says proof of vaccination isn’t a new idea; Some countries already require it for yellow fever and other diseases. He anticipates proof of a COVID-19 vaccination will become an important document for Canadians.

“I don’t, however, believe airlines should be involved in (the) processing or storage of information, because we are talking about sensitive, personal health information to be specific.”

Tyler MacAfee with the Winnipeg Airports Authority says the organization is waiting for government guidance on this issue.

“If it was something we could be doing on our own, we’d have it in place already,” said the

In the meantime, he says government-approved testing is needed for travellers to have an impact on the mandatory 14-day quarantine.

“We can certainly have testing at the airport, but it needs to lead to something other than the peace of mind of knowing the result.”

While thousands of Canadians are cancelling trips because non-essential travel is not recommended, travel agency owner Barb Crowe says some types of trips, like river cruises in smaller boats, are filling up fast for 2022.

“You’ve got to get thinking about what it is that you want to do and get it locked in, or you’ll be going in 2023,” she said.

Her hope is that COVID-19 vaccination isn’t required for travel.

“There are a lot of people choosing not to get that. Everybody has different feelings on that,” Crowe said.

COVID-19 immunizations are recorded in the public health information management system. A provincial spokesperson told CTV News if someone needs physical proof of vaccination, a vaccination summary can be obtained at their local public health office. 

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