Manitoba axes vax status checker app
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In another milestone in the post-pandemic world, the province of Manitoba has ended service for its mobile application that allowed business and venue owners to verify a patron’s vaccination status.
The Manitoba Immunization Verifier app launched in August 2021, two months after the province began issuing its immunization cards. It allowed users to scan secure QR codes and verify vaccination status.
When a code was scanned, the device would display either a green screen with a check mark or a red screen with an X. The data included only the name and immunization status of that on the card, so those scanning were asked to compare the information with another piece of government identification.
Previously, the province said it budgeted $4.3 million to implement the cards and the app.
The app can no longer be downloaded. On Feb. 3, app users received a notification alerting them the verification service is no longer available.
A description accompanying the latest update stated: “Removal of verification functionality.”
As of Monday afternoon, the province has yet to provide comment.
Public health orders requiring Manitobans to show proof of vaccination before entering restaurants, businesses and public venues ended March 1, 2022, with provincial mask mandates following shortly after.
When the health orders ended, Premier Heather Stefanson did not say how long the technology would continue to operate.
“We’ll have those discussions, I guess, at cabinet and internally to see what the next steps are in terms of removing the QR codes, what that will look like in terms of the process and probably have more discussions about that and more to reveal at a later date,” she said.
At the time, some business owners expressed hesitation about removing vaccine requirements, while others celebrated the removal of restrictions after a difficult two years in the hospitality industry.
According to the latest provincial respiratory surveillance report, which summarizes data Jan. 22-28, Manitoba logged 62 new COVID infections — adding to the provincial case total of 7,482 active cases.
Just over half of the new infections are in the Winnipeg region.
Manitoba is tracking three outbreaks in long-term care facilities, and the provincial test positivity rate is 10.5 per cent.
Six people have been admitted to hospital, with two heading to ICU.
Overall, laboratory detection decreased compared to the fall of 2022, the report says.
As of Jan. 28, 77.9 per cent of Manitoba residents have at least two doses of COVID-19 vaccine, with 21.4 per cent receiving a shot within the last six months.
Updated on Monday, February 6, 2023 1:54 PM CST: Updates feature image
Updated on Monday, February 6, 2023 2:00 PM CST: Fixes typos