Student Life

Student’s weigh in on Concordia’s vaccine mandate

We can thank the vaccine passport for Quebec’s high vaccination rates, but now all incentive to get vaccinated is gone. As of March 12, the Quebec vaccine passport is no more in bars, restaurants, movie theatres and more. This means people who chose not to get vaccinated, once incentivized to get the shot by limitations placed by the Quebec government – limitations as recent as January – have no more reason to get their covid immunization.

To be transparent, here’s how I feel about the whole thing.

Even as a pro-vaxxer who feels safer with the shot and boosters, no public incentive will make me drag my feet. So imagine someone who just doesn’t want to be vaccinated – despite the public and personal safety it can bring us, many will never get the shot(s) for a variety of reasons. Some of these reasons should be respected, but the general population should make up the difference, in a way.

This is my opinion — one of many different ones felt on the Concordia campus, as the university dismantled their vaccine mandate. While it was only in place for certain gatherings, sports clubs, the gym and Reggies, our campus bar, students had a lot of thoughts to share.

We went around Concordia’s downtown campus on Friday to ask students how they felt vis-a-vis the return to normality.

Guillaume Sercia, studying Human Environment 

I think its a good thing [the vaccine mandate is going away]. At some point we have to come back to reality, to normality. […] It wasn’t a big issue for me, but I was frustrated for the people who couldn’t take part in regular activities. I would feel safe even without a vaccine, so it doesn’t bother me.”






Carles Ngoupeyu, studying accounting 

I don’t agree with the vaccine mandate. They didn’t think about the non-vaccintaed. […] You just feel alone, separated from others. Those who are vaccinated will say the opposite because they have access to everything. But when you are not vaccinated, it’s just different. And to feel like you can’t enter a store because you didn’t get a vaccine; feeling like you’re limited in your actions because of a vaccine, it’s just really terrible.”





Nadeem Alhajzein, studying studio arts and art history

I don’t totally agree with the idea of a vaccine mandate being removed. I feel like [the] Quebec government is kind of like, going up and down different rules.”

“But I do understand how it’s supposed to be trying and getting people to go back to normal, I guess. But I still feel like it’s something that should still be at places because it does help us.”





Yannis Affoum, studying for a certificate of Science Foundations

I’m actually kind of happy. It’s very annoying to always have to worry about these things, and always having to show your phone, show your QR code, and all these things… It’s kind of annoying. And for people who dont have a QR code, it’s kind of discriminatory.”






Ahmed Riad, studying electrical engineering

It’s great, people [now] have the choice of taking the vaccine or not, I personally took the vaccine. […] People should have the freedom to take the vaccine or not.”






Marwa Khalid, studying software engineering

I wouldn’t really feel comfortable. Obviously, it’s a really crowded place, there’s a lot of people, and if they are not wearing their mask, you don’t know if they have [COVID], or dont have it, or even if they are facing symptoms. The removal of masks doesnt mean they don’t have COVID. [But] I don’t think it was the university’s place [to implement a vaccine mandate], I think it’s the government that makes that decision, then the university should follow.”

Photos by Catherine Reynolds


Concordia businesses express their thoughts on the vaccine passport

Concordia’s on-campus businesses call on the university to take a more active and efficient approach to the vaccine passport

Many people have voiced their anger and frustration with the vaccine passport since the Quebec government announced it on Aug. 10. Thousands took to the streets to protest, claiming that this enforcement is discriminatory and an infringement of a person’s rights.

The vaccine passport was first introduced on Sept.1 with a two-week grace period before implementing fines to business owners who refuse to comply. Since Sept. 15, the Quebec government has officially enforced a proof of vaccination for Quebecers aged 13 and over in order to access non-essential businesses such as restaurants, bars, cafés, and gyms — even those located on school campuses.

Calvin Clarke, the general coordinator at the Hive Café Solidarity Co-op, feels like checking every customer’s vaccination passport is an unwarranted responsibility for him and his employees.

Clarke points out that dining places are one of the few areas where the vaccine passports are being checked on campus.

Vannina Maestracci, Concordia University spokesperson, has stated that the use of the vaccine passport on campus is to mirror its larger use in Quebec.

“Going to any restaurant in Quebec requires the use of the passport, and on campuses, this translates to a passport requirement for dining places; similarly, team sports in Quebec require a vaccination passport and so sports on campus also require the passport.”

However, the university indicates that classes, labs, studios, libraries and other course-related places do not require a passport because they are considered essential activities.

When asked how the vaccine passport has affected their clientele, Clarke said, “It’s been about 95 per cent of the people have been fine with it, but it’s definitely slowed us down business-wise, because it is an extra step we have to do.”

Clarke acknowledges that the vaccine passport is very important for everyone’s safety, but nonetheless still believes that imposing the responsibility of checking every student’s passport is a burden.

“I think it’s a very good thing to have. I do think that the university should take a more active approach, rather than relying on businesses within the campus having to deal with that because that puts a lot of strain on us.”

He urges the university to take better action in implementing stricter rules and says that Concordia could take a more supportive and active role without relying on on-campus businesses.

Sham Rahman, a member of the board at Reggies, agrees with Clarke and says that the vaccination passport hasn’t affected their clientele as much. Like Clarke, Rahman agrees that this extra step has made things slower for their employees.

“It takes a little toll because I have to have an extra person on each door to check the passports because I can’t have my bartenders or waitresses check all the time,“ Rahman said.

Rahman believes that this extra step is necessary for everyone’s safety; however, he does not think it’s efficient.

He suggested alternative methods the university could implement. Instead of scanning phones and asking for IDs, Rahman thinks a possible solution would be having an ID provided by the school, indicating that the student has been fully vaccinated.

So far these businesses both reported that they have yet to encounter problems with students refusing to show their vaccine passports.


Graphic by James Fay


COVID-19 vaccine: what Canadians should expect in 2021

With over 100,000 Quebecers vaccinated, the province prepares for mass immunization

Two days before Christmas, Agnes Wong walked into the Berkley Care Centre in North Vancouver to begin her usual shift as a cook. Having worked at the senior home for 15 years, she was feeling particularly nervous that day. It was on Dec. 23 when Wong received her first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

As a staff member of a long-term care centre, Wong became part of the first phase of Canada’s mass vaccination plan. This phase also includes residents of such care centres, as well as seniors aged 70 and over, frontline healthcare workers, and adults living in Indigenous communities.

Before the procedure, Wong was concerned about the vaccine’s potential side effects, as it was developed in less than a year. Pfizer and Moderna, the only companies whose vaccines have been approved by the Canadian government thus far, have both warned that patients may experience fatigue, headaches, chills, muscle pain, or fever after getting the vaccine.

However, Wong told The Concordian that she only felt slight pain in her left arm, in the area where the vaccine was administered.

“The pain disappeared two days later, so I don’t feel that discomfort anymore. I’m ready to receive the second dose of this vaccine, which should happen in about two weeks,” said Wong.

The World Health Organization recommends people take the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine within 21-28 days. It is expected to cause stronger side effects than the first dose, with 16 per cent of vaccinees aged 18 to 55 having experienced fever after its injection, as well as 11 per cent of those aged 56 and above.

The highest-priority groups are recommended to receive the vaccine before the rest of the population in every province and territory by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI). However, each province, including Quebec, is responsible for its own vaccination plan.

Over 115,000 Quebecers have been vaccinated as of Jan. 15, according to Health Minister Christian Dubé. The province has already received 162,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, and this number is expected to reach 250,000 next month.

As of now, Canada has vaccinated 1.1 per cent of its population and thus occupies the 13th position worldwide in terms of the COVID-19 vaccination rate. The current world leader is Israel, where a whopping 25 per cent of the population already received the COVID vaccine.

The estimated cost of Canada’s vaccination process remains unknown. However, it will be fully covered by the federal government, meaning all vaccine doses will be free of charge for Canadians.

Going forward, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Tuesday that the country is “on track to have every Canadian who wants a vaccine receive one by September.” This year, the government expects to receive a total of 80 million vaccine doses from Pfizer and Moderna.

At the same time, Trudeau made it clear that the COVID-19 vaccine will not be mandatory for the general public. The Prime Minister also reassured Canadians that there is no plan to develop a system of COVID-19 vaccine passports, which would act as official proof of one’s vaccination, as he believes it would create a divisive impact on the country.

According to an Ipsos/Radio-Canada poll conducted in late November, 16 per cent of Canadians definitely oppose taking the vaccine, while 64 per cent would be willing to get vaccinated. However, just 41 per cent of Canadians believe that vaccination should be mandatory for all, a poll from the Association for Canadian Studies reveals.

Wong also believes that mass vaccination will help Canada get through such a challenging period and move in a positive direction. She added, “I believe the vaccine should be widely administered because — just like a flu shot — it would give people a sense of security.”

There is no guarantee that all pandemic-related restrictions will be lifted as soon as the vaccine becomes available to the general public. However, mass vaccination is a major step towards returning to ordinary life in Canada.

The quicker everyone gets vaccinated, the quicker we’re going to be able to get back to a semblance of normality,” stated Trudeau.


Graphic by Taylor Reddam

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