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Ontario extending vaccine passports; people must have QR code version – paper or digital

Ontario is adjusting its COVID-19 response due to rising cases and variant concerns.

The new measures announced today include delaying the lifting of proof of vaccination requirements beyond Jan. 17, 2022 and effective Jan. 4, 2022, requiring the use of the enhanced vaccine certificate with QR code and the Verify Ontario app in settings where proof of vaccination is required. Critics have stated the certificates without the codes can be easily forged or falsified.

The QR code can be used digitally or by printing a paper copy. Individuals can download their enhanced certificate with QR code by visiting https://covid-19.ontario.ca/book-vaccine/ They can also get assistance at the County’s public library branches, or at the office of Bay of Quinte MP Todd Smith, 5503 Hwy. 62, South.

The province will also strengthen the verification process for medical exemptions and clinical trial exemptions by requiring a certificate with a QR code. Organizations and businesses that are under the provincial proof-of-vaccination system will be advised to no longer accept physician notes as of Jan. 10, 2022.

Effective Dec. 20, proof of vaccination is required for youth aged 12 to 17 years participating in organized sports at recreational facilities.

The province’s Chief Medical Officer of Health advises people to limit their social gatherings, and the number of gatherings they attend over the holiday season. Additional precautions should be taken if all individuals are not fully vaccinated or where vaccination status is unknown. Employers in all industries should make every effort to allow employees to work from home.

As part of its enhanced winter testing strategy the province is launching a holiday testing blitz next week to offer voluntary rapid antigen screening to asymptomatic individuals free of charge. Two million rapid tests will be provided at pop-up testing sites in high-traffic settings such as malls, retail settings, holiday markets and transit hubs.

In addition, starting on Monday, Dec. 13 at 8 a.m., individuals aged 50 and over will be eligible to schedule their booster dose appointment. Expanded booster dose eligibility to all Ontarians 18 years of age and older is to occur on Jan. 4, 2022, with appointments to be booked approximately six months after receiving a second dose.

“Ontario, like other jurisdictions around the world, is seeing concerning trends in public health and health care indicators, and additional measures are required to protect our progress for the long-term,” said Dr. Kieran Moore, Chief Medical Officer of Health. “All Ontarians are strongly urged to follow these and existing measures and get vaccinated with a first, second or booster dose if you have not done so already.

“These are the layers that are protecting everyone. By taking these actions, we can help to reduce the mobility of COVID-19 and its variants, protect public health and health system capacity and save lives. This is especially important as we enter the holiday season and spend more time with family and friends. We need to keep each other safe.”

Local medical officers of health continue to have the ability to issue advice, recommendations or instructions under the Reopening Ontario, as well as Section 22 orders under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, and municipalities may enact bylaws, to target specific transmission risks in the community.

Filed Under: Local News

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