About 400 people gathered in downtown Kamloops on Wednesday (Sept. 1), along Columbia Street between Third and Sixth avenues, to protest the provincial government’s vaccination certificate program.
Participants included residents from the city and from outside Kamloops.
Effective Sept. 13, people ages 12 and older not vaccinated against COVID-19 will not be permitted to visit many non-essential venues, including restaurants, pubs, nightclubs, gyms, concerts, sporting events and indoor weddings, conferences and parties.
At least one dose of a vaccine will be required as of Sept. 13 to visit those places, while two doses will be required as of Oct. 24.
Patrons must show their vaccination cards, which were given to them at immunization clinics, while an online proof of vaccination system is scheduled to be operational by Sept. 13. It is expected to consist of using a QR code for smartphones, as is being used as of Sept. 1 in Quebec.
B.C., Quebec, Manitoba and Ontario have all announced proof of vaccination rules to attend non-essential businesses and other locations.
Voters in the Sept. 20 federal election will not be required to show proof of vaccination.
For more information on accessing online vaccination status, click here.
The vaccination certificate program has met some opposition in B.C., as was seen during the protest in downtown Kamloops, which was peppered with signs displaying various messages, including “If vaccines were so safe to protect the population, why must they bribe us to get immunized?”, Stop tyranny,” “Media lies, freedom dies” and “Freedom, not force. My body, my choice.”
Some private businesses have vowed not to check the vaccination status of customers, arguing that doing so is discriminatory, while a number of social media groups dedicated to opposing the protocol have been created.
Premier John Horgan issued the following statement in support of health-care workers in light of protests:
"Health-care workers have been true heroes throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, working long hours in difficult conditions to care for us, our loved ones and to keep our communities safe," Horgan said. "While everyone has the right to peaceful protest, the targeting and harassment of health-care workers at health-care facilities today is completely unacceptable. We stand by our health-care workers and support them fully. The intent of every COVID-19 guideline and restriction that we've put in place since the beginning of the pandemic is to keep people healthy. That remains our number-one priority and we will take the steps we need to, to save lives and keep people safe as the vast majority of British Columbians expect."
Most COVID-19 cases continue to be among the unvaccinated. BC Centre for Disease Control case data from Aug. 20 to Aug. 26 spanning 4,565 COVID-positive patients shows 71.3 per cent were unvaccinated, 10.4 per cent were partially vaccinated and 18.2 per cent were fully vaccinated.
For the 217 patients hospitalized from Aug. 13 to Aug. 26, 172 (79.3 per cent) were not vaccinated, 14 (6.5 per cent) were partially vaccinated and 31 (14.3 per cent) were fully vaccinated.
As of Aug. 31, B.C.'s two-dose vaccination rate was 76.5 per cent, with the one-dose rate at 84.3 per cent.