Vaccine passports a good idea says Dr. Roumeliotis

Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Vaccine passports a good idea says Dr. Roumeliotis
Eastern Ontario Health Unit medical officer of health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis visited the Morrisburg Arena on May 10th, the site of a one-day COVID-19 vaccination clinic held in South Dundas. Copyright - Phillip Blancher.

CORNWALL, Ontario – Following calls by provincial and national business groups, the region’s top doctor is adding his support for Ontario to adopt a vaccination passport program, similar to that of Quebec.

Eastern Ontario Health Unit Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis said that he supported Ontario adopting a vaccination passport.

“The concept of what they are doing in Quebec to me is rewarding those that went and took the time, waited in line, got their vaccines, and now can reap the benefits of it,” Roumeliotis said. “It’s not to say that you are punishing the non-vaccinated, I mean it in the positive way.”

He said that it makes sense for business owners to have a system like the vaccine passport to follow.

“If you’re a business owner and the choice is that we shut you down again or there is a passport, what would you take,” he asked.

Groups like the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, and the Canadian Federation of Independent Business have all said that vaccine passports or a certificate system would help prevent further business lock downs.

“It’s something that we need to look at,” Roumeliotis said. “I think people who are vaccinated can reap the benefits of it.”

He said he is concerned with unvaccinated or vaccine-resistant Quebec residents entering Ontario to avoid having to have a vaccine passport.

“I am concerned but I don’t think that people are going to be that desperate to come across to our area,” Roumeliotis said.

Medical groups including the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario and the Ontario Medical Association have also called for the adoption of a vaccine passport or certificate program.

“Vaccine certificates and passports provide one of many policy levers to help with this, and provincial and federal governments have the ability to make this a reality,” said OMA President Dr. Adam Kassam.

Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table has also said that a vaccine passport would be beneficial for reopening higher-risk settings. So far, the Ontario government  has said it is not implementing any passport system.

This article was originally written for, and appeared in The Morrisburg Leader.

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