Support for vaccine passports in Canada has been high and growing for months, according to most published surveys.
Anahita Fallahi is among those who believe the passports will not only keep her and others safe but that it’s the key to getting back to normal life.
“I am all for the vaccine passports if it helps us get back to how we were before COVID-19,” said Fallahi, a Police Foundations student at Centennial College.
“When passports were first mentioned I did think that it was going to be extra work when going to places that need them,” she said. “However, it’s a quick process to show the passport and ID.”
Ontario mandated the new COVID-19 vaccine passport system for entry to places such as arenas, restaurants and gyms, drawing angry objections from a loud minority of citizens as of Sept. 22.
From among the loud minority opposed to vaccination and the vaccination passport, Dana Etingen, a 20-year-old Western University student, said she feels discriminated against because of her beliefs.
“My vaccine status should not be what defines me,” she said.
“Lately I’ve noticed that when I openly mention that I am not vaccinated and don’t plan on getting vaccinated, I get very strange looks from people and I really do not appreciate that,” Etingen said.
A Leger survey of 1,515 Canadians conducted between Aug. 13 and 15 found most Canadians are pro-vaccine and pro-passport, with up to eight in 10 supporting new regulations.
The survey, which had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.51 per cent, reported 63 per cent of Quebecers strongly supported it with 19 per cent somewhat supporting it. The rest of Canada reported 53 per cent strongly support the passport and 24 per cent somewhat supported it.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau upped the ante in favour of vaccination, announcing that by Oct. 30 Canadians will need to prove they have been fully vaccinated to board planes, trains, and marine travel in the country.
He said public servants will have to be vaccinated or will be forced into an unpaid leave of absence. There will be only narrow grounds on which exemptions will be granted, the prime minister said.
“Simply having a personal conviction that vaccines are bad will not be nearly enough to qualify,” Trudeau said.
“If you’ve done the right thing and gotten vaccinated, you deserve the freedom to be safe from COVID, to have your kids be safe from COVID, to get back to the things you love,” he said.
Besides safeguarding her own health and keeping her own family safe, a reason for getting vaccinated and supporting the passport is “because I wanted to travel,” Fallahi said.
“I had a trip planned right before COVID-19 and I couldn’t go,” she said. “That made me want to get the vaccine as soon as possible.”
Dental secretary Sherry Arabpour agreed with the importance and necessity of vaccination and a vaccination passport, although she acknowledged some people might object.
“I understand that it might not be ideal for everyone,” she said. “But we are in a pandemic and no one is satisfied with what is going on.
“In a perfect world I wouldn’t need to show my ID and vaccine status, but this is real life and COVID-19 is a very real thing, unfortunately, and if that’s what I have to do then it is what it is.”
Arabpour is fully vaccinated and abides by all the rules Ontario has established.
“I want the best for my family, and that is doing everything I possibly can to help get back to normal life,” she said. “Everyone should accept it and get vaccinated.”