A vaccine passport with limited effects, concludes a study

Vaccine passport with limited effects, study concludes

UPDATE DAY

The effect of the vaccine passport has been limited in Quebec given the already very high vaccination rate in the province, according to a new study.  

Researchers estimate that vaccination coverage has only increased by 0.9% thanks to this controversial measure, implemented in September 2021 by the Legault government. 

“It may seem low, but you have to contextualize. About 82% of the population had already received a first dose when the passport was announced, ”recalls Associate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at McGill University Mathieu Maheu-Giroux, who participated in the study.&nbsp ;

Among those who received a first dose during the 6 weeks following the announcement of the passport, almost one in four would have been convinced by the passport, we note. 

This represents between 50,000 and 80,000 Quebecers, according to the main author, Jorge Luis Flores.

The convinced doubters

The most likely to have finally raised their sleeves are those who were open to vaccination, without having made it a priority.

“The announcement of the vaccine passport gave the signal that we had to get vaccinated now, and not in three months, if we wanted to take advantage of gathering places such as restaurants or bars”, continues the research assistant in epidemiology. of McGill University. 

The article, which still needs to be peer-reviewed before being published in a scientific journal, also points out that the passport has had no impact impact on the vaccination rates of racialized and poorer populations. 

Not the best way

After reading the researchers' conclusions, epidemiologist Nimâ Machouf considers that the vaccine passport “was not worth it”. 

“Given that we were extremely well vaccinated, imposing a vaccination obligation in order to obtain a few more percentage points of vaccination from a limited segment of the population, this was perhaps not the best way”, she affirms, evoking the aversion of many for this measurement.

“There were social costs for the non-vaccinated people covered by the passport”, also affirms Jorge Luis Flores. Hence the importance for him of having estimates of the impact of public policies that will feed the debate in society. 

“We must draw the correct lessons from everything that has happened. done during covid, because epidemics, we will have others”, adds Ms. Machouf.

For the good of the unvaccinated

For its part, the Ministry of Health refuses to comment on the study without having read it carefully. 

“From a public health point of view, the main argument in favor of the vaccine passport was not to convince or reward people who were adequately vaccinated, but rather to reduce the risk of exposure to the virus for people who were not. vaccinated”, we write. 

Professor Maheu-Giroux also intends to look into the effects of the vaccine passport on the transmission of covid in the places identified by the government in a second step. . 

“We must evaluate all aspects of this health policy”, he maintains. 

The cabinet of Minister of Health Christian Dubé had no yet answered questions from the Journal when it went online. 

As of today, 84.8% of Quebecers had received at least one dose of vaccine, and 61.7% were considered as adequately vaccinated. 

Ontario, which has also introduced a vaccine passport, has seen its vaccination coverage increase er of 0.7%.