B.C. doctors want venues to scan vaccine passports, not just look at them to help avoid forgeries
Doctors in B.C. are urging venues to not just look at customers' vaccine passports but also to scan them in an effort to weed out possible forged proof of vaccination.
Indoor venues that are required to check vaccine passports have two choices: visually confirm that the name on the card matches a photo ID, or scan the embedded QR code with a mobile app that is linked to the province’s vaccination database.
Scanning would confirm the passport is authentic. But many businesses are choosing to do a visual check instead, and some B.C. doctors are worried that could open the door to fakes.
“The province did go through all the trouble to develop this code. If they’re not going to scan the code, it can lead to forgeries, and somebody who is savvy enough with Photoshop to do some nefarious tinkering,” said family physician Dr. Anna Wolak.
At the Vancouver Canucks home opener Tuesday night, most fans only had their vaccine passport visually checked against photo ID. There were random scans of some guests QR codes, a practice the team says it will step up for future games.
Emergency room physician Dr. Nav Grewal would like see the arena scan everyone’s vaccine passport.
“Large venues like Rogers Arena and B.C. Place and other sites where they are already scanning tickets, it should be fairly simple for them to use these devices to scan them. And if they wouldn’t accept a visual check on regular ticket, they should be doing the same thing for the vax pass,” Grewal said.
While Health Minister Adrian Dix said he recommends businesses scan the QR code, a visual check is also acceptable.
“Both are possible and both can happen,” said Dix. “You have to show your B.C. vaccine card and you have to show your ID everywhere, and that’s what’s required. Scanning the QR code is a further advantage we would recommend.”
Family physician Dr. Karina Zeidler would like to see more than a recommendation. She believes scanning should be a requirement.
“If you’re going to do a mitigation strategy, you should actually put it in so it’s mandated, that people have to do the mitigation strategy,” said Zeidler.
Wolak said she’s worried if people who are unvaccinated are able to get into large indoor gatherings with forged passports, they could become super spreader events.
“You need to scan it. I think it needs to be across the board, and it is simple enough,” said Wolak who added that she downloaded the mobile scanning app and found it didn’t take any longer than a visual check.
But for now, scanning is optional. And many businesses are choosing the visual check instead.