Ontarians Can Download QR Code COVID-19 Vaccine Certificates in the Next 3 Days

Ontario is making enhanced COVID-19 vaccine certificates with QR codes available for download beginning over the next three days, starting Friday morning with those born between January and April before expanding to more residents.

An update added to the Ontario Health site last night says that the initial phased three-day rollout is intended to ensure a “smooth user experience” for those who want to download their enhanced certificate as soon as possible.

Ontarians with a birthday in the first four months of the year we’re able to obtain their QR code as of 12 a.m. ET today.

The next phases of the initial rollout include:

  • May to August: Oct. 16
  • September to December: Oct. 17

At 6 a.m. on Oct. 18 enhanced certificates will be available for all vaccinated Ontarians to download.

Enhanced certificates will prevent shutdowns says, Mr. Ford

Those who are unable to download the certificate themselves can contact the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre to have it mailed or emailed to them.

Enhanced certificates are not mandatory and Ontarians can continue using their current vaccine receipt if they wish.

At a briefing for media Friday, officials said the purpose of the QR code system is to make vaccination status screening more efficient for businesses and more secure for the public. Roughly 83 percent of those eligible in the province have now had two doses of vaccine.

The QR codes “mean we can allow businesses the comfort to keep operating safely,” Ontario Premier Doug Ford said at a news conference after the briefing.

“They mean we can continue to get back to doing things we want without losing the gains we’ve made,” he said, noting they will help prevent any further shutdowns in the province.

Officials said the QR codes will reveal less personal information than the current vaccine receipts do. The codes include a person’s name, date of birth and whether they have received two doses of vaccine, with their last shot at least 14 days prior.

It does not contain which brand or brands of vaccine a person received, or the specific dates of their shots. That information is included on the broader enhanced certificate itself, but is not transmitted through the QR codes, officials said.

Those who download a certificate can store it on their smartphones or use physical copies, which can also be scanned.

Verify Ontario app is already live

Officials said the Verify Ontario app businesses will use to scan QR codes does not store any personal information.

The code used to create the app is open-source, meaning it is freely available for others to use and has been posted online. It works on Apple and Android devices that were produced in about 2014 and after.

Verify Ontario went live online yesterday, rolling out in the Apple and Google app stores. After the code is scanned, a green checkmark will appear indicating a valid vaccine certificate, an X against a red background for an invalid certificate or a yellow warning for a QR that cannot be read.

Verify Ontario does not require an internet connection to work, though one is necessary for any updates to the app itself.

Those hoping to enter a business impacted by the province’s vaccine requirements will also need to show an approved form of physical identification that matches the name and date of birth in the QR code.

The intent is that eventually the app and QR codes will be compatible with those in use in other provinces and territories, though it will likely take weeks or months before that process is complete, officials at the briefing said.

The province is working to include valid medical exemptions to COVID-19 vaccines in the codes, but officials couldn’t say when that feature may be rolled out. It will include having proof of medical exemptions verified by local public health units, Health Minister Christine Elliott said at the news conference.

Under Ontario’s vaccine mandate policy, only those who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 — or have a valid medical exemption from a doctor — can access certain settings, such as theatres, nightclubs and restaurant dining rooms.

This post is also available in: Tiếng Việt

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