June 1, 2023

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QR codes return to vaccine records at eHealth Saskatchewan

Proving vaccination status is again easy, just as the government reveals how laborious an out-of-pocket testing alternative will be.

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Vaccine certificates are again equipped with Quick Response (QR) codes on MySaskHealthRecord, days after a privacy breach forced eHealth Saskatchewan to remove them.


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The codes, which allow businesses to quickly access vaccination information by scanning an image, were available online as of Tuesday morning. They returned days before wide-ranging proof of vaccine requirements snap into place, and just as the government reveals how onerous an alternative for negative testing will be.

Late Friday afternoon, eHealth announced that it was pulling down vaccine certificates from MySaskHealthRecord after learning that some residents’ health information was showing up in other people’s QR codes. The vaccine status for as many as 19 people may have been accessible in that way.

As a result, eHealth asked Saskatchewan people to delete or destroy vaccine certificates with QR codes. David Church, vice-president of programs and technology with eHealth, said the mixup resulted from an issue with a third-party vendor, Telus.

In a release Tuesday, the government said the issue “has been resolved.” It again cautioned that QR codes printed, downloaded or screen captured prior to Tuesday should be destroyed. eHealth later confirmed to the Leader-Post that Telus has corrected the problem and “undertook significant testing efforts to confirm so.”

In a press appearance on Tuesday, NDP Leader Ryan Meili warned that the QR code privacy breach risks undermining trust in the system. He faulted the government for coming through at the last minute when they had all summer to work on a proper proof of vaccination framework.


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“It’s a necessary thing,” said Meili. “It’s just such a shame that this government decided to hand in their homework at the very last minute.”

The codes are one option for people to show proof of vaccination, which will be required for access to certain business, events and workplaces as of Friday, with proof of negative testing the only alternative. Wallet cards, as well as screenshots or printouts of vaccine records without QR codes are also acceptable.

Businesses requiring proof of vaccination will also need to require identification for all adults, and youth between age 12 and 17 unaccompanied by adults.

John Hopkins, CEO of the Regina & District Chamber of Commerce, said businesses have been facing confusion due to not having enough information about the coming system. He’s glad it’s here now, even if businesses only have a few days to react.

“It’s certainly going to be tight,” he said. “But now that we have the information, we can get it out to people and they can do the best they can.”

The government also released detailed information on how people who choose not to be vaccinated can go about providing a negative test instead. It won’t be easy. The cost of such tests are the responsibility of the individual. The negative result must be from the last 72 hours. Take-home versions of rapid antigen tests are not acceptable.

For unvaccinated and partially vaccinated government employees, the requirement is one negative test every seven days to enter the workplace.


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Don’t expect the SHA to provide them either. The government release warned that the SHA will not provide asymptomatic testing from this point forward. It will instead prioritize people with symptoms as well as close contacts, those with a positive rapid test result, people in an outbreak situation and those going to certain health facilities.

Unvaccinated people must make use of a private PCR or rapid antigen tests, for a fee.

The proof of vaccination or testing requirements will come into effect for government ministries, Crown corporations and agencies on Friday. Private employers can opt in. The Saskatchewan Health Authority will be doing likewise, through a phased approach. In that case, there will be a monitored testing program that employees must cover out of their own pocket.

— with files from Lynn Giesbrecht

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