Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday that the federal government is now looking “very carefully” at the idea of vaccine passports, and will be working with allied nations on establishing measures for travellers who are vaccinated.
“As was the case pre-pandemic, certificates of vaccination are a part of international travel to certain regions and are naturally to be expected when it comes to this pandemic and the coronavirus,” Trudeau said during a press conference on Tuesday.
“How we actually roll that out in alignment with partners and allies around the world, it’s something that we’re working on right now.”
His announcement appears to backtrack on his position last month, when Trudeau said there are already well-established systems of vaccination certificates to ensure safe international travel. The prime minister had also noted that vaccination certificates can raise questions of equity and fairness when implemented domestically.
When pushed for an explicit answer as to whether vaccination certificates will happen, Trudeau told reporters that the government will “have more to announce when we have to announce,” and it is now still focused on getting through the pandemic.
Trudeau’s announcement comes after European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told the New York Times on April 25 that Americans who are fully vaccinated against the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which causes the COVID-19 disease, will likely be allowed to travel freely across the European Union by this summer.
While it remains unclear if American travellers will be required to provide proof of vaccination upon their arrival in EU countries, von der Leyen said all 27 member states will unconditionally accept all those who have been vaccinated.
When ask if Canada will also consider allowing vaccinated American travellers to enter the country, Trudeau said he understands the difficulties travellers are facing, but the government will only reopen its borders when “the time is right.”
A vaccination certificate, or “vaccine passport,” is a travel document that proves an individual has been vaccinated against certain diseases such as COVID-19. There is not yet a global standard of what these vaccination certificates can look like, which can range from a digital certificate to a paper document.
On Wednesday, UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the country has announced plans to use its National Health Service smartphone app as its COVID-19 vaccine passport.