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Vancouver Canucks 'exploring the possibility' of requiring vaccine proof for entry to local games

Vancouver -

The Vancouver Canucks are considering making vaccines mandatory for anyone wanting to watch a home game in the upcoming season.

The team said Wednesday it's in talks with local health authorities as it prepares to welcome back fans to Rogers Arena and the Abbotsford Centre.

In a statement, the Canucks' president of business operations told CTV News the team is "fully committed to the safety of our staff, players, season ticket members and fans."

"While we have not made any final decisions, we are definitely exploring the possibility of requiring proof of vaccination for entry into our venues," Michael Doyle said.

Doyle added policies are expected to be finalized "in the coming weeks."

The announcement came after the Winnipeg Jets said they plan to have their arena at full capacity for home games next season, and will require attendees to prove they’re immunized.

An immunologist from the University of British Columbia said he hopes the Canucks follow the Jets’ lead.

“People in a very tight crowd, shouting and yelling, is a recipe for disaster with this virus. I think having unvaccinated people in that situation is just a really bad idea,” Dr. Kelly McNagny said.

He suggested those who choose not to be vaccinated should stay away from large events, out of respect for immunocompromised people and young children.

“There are some people who will get vaccinated and not have a strong immune response – people who’ve had an organ transplant or are on immunosuppression for autoimmune disease," said McNagny.

The doctor also noted that many children under the age of 12, who are currently ineligible for any of the vaccines, go to Canucks games.

Last week, Quebec became the first province to announce residents will need to show proof of vaccination to access some non-essential services. B.C.'s top doctor was asked about the practice and didn't rule it out, saying officials are "looking at all options and continue to look at all options." 

While COVID-19 vaccinations are not mandatory, Dr. Bonnie Henry said those who don’t get immunized risk missing out on certain events, like live sports.

“If you choose not to be immunized, you don’t necessarily have the right to go into a high-risk environment with people who have been immunized and are protected,” Henry said Thursday.

Henry also previously hinted she supports businesses establishing their own rules around vaccines, saying it could help people feel more comfortable. 

"If I was running a nightclub, I'd want to make sure my staff are protected. And yes, we can absolutely say, 'To come in here you have to be immunized,'" she said late last month.

"It does affect your business. If you have an outbreak and it's transmitting between staff, the business will need to shut down for a period of time."

An immunologist from the University of British Columbia said he hopes B.C. follows Quebec's lead.

"My opinion is that B.C. should follow suit. I think it makes sense scientifically, it makes senses epidemiologically," Dr. Kelly McNagny said.

When discussing proof of vaccination last week, B.C.'s health minister said officials are working now on making it easier for everyone to access their record.

With files from CTV News Vancouver's Shannon Paterson Top Stories

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