Coronavirus (COVID-19): Nova Scotia COVID-19 Proof of Vaccination
You need proof of full vaccination to participate in most events and activities if you’re 12 and older.
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As part of the proof of full vaccination protocol, you need proof that you're fully vaccinated to participate in discretionary, non-essential events and activities that gather people together (like going to restaurants, movies, sports events, theatre performances, social events and the gym). Proof of vaccination isn't required for children 11 and younger (they can attend events and activities with a fully vaccinated adult or on their own).
Where proof of full vaccination is required
Starting 4 October 2021, you need proof of full vaccination to go to or participate in discretionary, non-essential events, activities and services that gather people together, including:
- full-service restaurants where patrons sit at tables to be served, both indoors and on patios
- food establishments (like fast food and coffee shops) where people sit to eat and drink, both indoors and on patios (not including food courts, takeout, drive-thru or delivery)
- liquor licensed (drinking) establishments (like bars, wineries, distillery tasting rooms, craft taprooms and liquor manufacturers), both indoors and on patios
- casinos and gaming establishments, both indoors and on patios
- fitness establishments (like gyms and yoga studios) and sport and recreation facilities (like arenas, pools and large multipurpose recreation facilities)
- businesses and organizations offering indoor and outdoor recreation and leisure activities (like climbing facilities, dance classes, escape rooms, go-carts, indoor arcades, indoor play spaces, music lessons, pottery painting, shooting ranges and outdoor adventure)
- indoor and outdoor festivals, special events and arts and culture events (like theatre performances, concerts and movie theatres), unless they're outdoor events held in a public space with no specific entry point (like Nocturne)
- indoor and outdoor sports practices, games, competitions and tournaments (participants and spectators)
- indoor and outdoor extracurricular school-based activities, including sports
- bus, boat and walking tours
- museums, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and public library programs
- indoor and outdoor events and activities like receptions, social events, conferences and training that are hosted by a business or organization
- indoor and outdoor wedding ceremonies and funerals (including receptions and visitation) that are hosted by a business or organization
- community meetings in rental spaces or where the public may be present (like annual general meetings of businesses or organizations)
- training hosted by a business or organization (like driver training or courses offered by a business that provides training) and any training using a rental space
Proof of vaccination isn't required under the protocol for the staff of businesses and organizations that offer the events and activities. Proof of vaccination is required for volunteers who host, lead or organize the events and activities.
Where proof of full vaccination isn’t required
Proof of full vaccination isn't required for most places that don't host formal gatherings and places that offer essential, non-discretionary services and activities, including:
- retail stores
- financial institutions
- professional services like accountants and lawyers
- personal services like hair salons, barber shops, spas, nail salons and body art establishments
- healthcare services and health professions like doctor's offices, dental care, massage therapy and physiotherapy
- rental accommodations like hotel rooms, cottages and campgrounds
- faith services
- pre-primary to grade 12 school-based activities and field trips that take place during the school day (unless a field trip is for an event or activity where proof of full vaccination is required), before and after school programs and school buses
- post-secondary institutions (universities, NSCC, private career colleges and language schools) unless they're hosting events or activities that the public attend
- mental health and addictions support groups
- business meetings and other activities in the workplace that involve people who regularly work together and where the public isn't present (unless it's in a rented space)
- legislatively required meetings where public participation can't be done virtually (like municipal council meetings where citizens have a democratic right to participate)
- safety training that's required for a person's job and can't be done virtually
- places where government services are offered (like Access Nova Scotia)
- food banks, shelters, family resource centres and adult day programs for seniors and people with disabilities
- programs and services for vulnerable populations that can't be offered virtually (except if meals are offered; meals can only be provided through takeout or delivery to people who can't show proof of full vaccination)
- informal gatherings at a private residence
- general access to public libraries (like borrowing books and using computers)
- public transportation
- indoor and outdoor funeral services with a maximum of 25 participants (not including person conducting the ceremony and funeral home staff); masks are required and receptions and visitation are not permitted
Children and youth
Children who turn 12 between 1 January and 4 October 2021 have until 31 December 2021 to attend events and activities while they get vaccinated. Children who turn 12 after 4 October 2021 have 3 months from their birthday to get vaccinated.
If you’re 13 to 18 and have proof of vaccination that you received 1 dose of COVID-19 vaccine, you can participate in sport, recreation, arts and culture programming hosted by a business or organization. To continue participating, you must provide proof of full vaccination by 9 November 2021 (you need to get a first dose no later than 28 September and a second dose no later than 26 October).
If you turn 19 on or after 14 September 2021 and have proof of vaccination that you received 1 dose of COVID-19 vaccine, you can participate in sport, recreation, arts and culture programming hosted by a business or organization starting 4 October. To continue participating, you must provide proof of full vaccination by 9 November 2021 (you need to get a first dose no later than 28 September and a second dose no later than 26 October).
Businesses and organizations
Businesses and organizations can set their own vaccination policies if proof of vaccination isn’t required under the proof of full vaccination protocol and for their employees. People who are not fully vaccinated need to be able to access essential services. Policies should take legal and ethical implications into consideration.
Verifying proof of vaccination
Businesses and organizations need to verify proof of vaccination visually.
After verifying proof of vaccination, they must also review additional identification to confirm your identity. Accepted identification includes:
- birth certificate
- driver’s licence
- government issued identification (ID) card
- Health Card
- Secure Certificate of Indian Status
- student identification (ID) card
You can use the original version of your identification (card, paper or digital). You can also use a clear photocopy, photo or screenshot.
Your Nova Scotia COVID-19 Proof of Vaccination
If you get a COVID-19 vaccine in Nova Scotia, your Nova Scotia COVID-19 Proof of Vaccination includes the date, time, location, type, brand and lot number of COVID-19 vaccine you received. Within the province, you can use your Nova Scotia COVID-19 Proof of Vaccination to show proof of vaccination. Learn more: proof of vaccination.
Out-of-province proof of vaccination
If you’re not a permanent resident of Nova Scotia, you can use your vaccination record from your home province, territory or country to show proof of vaccination.
If you receive at least 1 dose of COVID-19 vaccine in the province, you can have your out-of-province vaccinations included on your Nova Scotia COVID-19 Proof of Vaccination. Learn more: out-of-province vaccines.
Medical exceptions for COVID-19 vaccination
The proof of full vaccination protocol allows for a valid medical exception by a nurse practitioner or doctor.
A medical exception for COVID-19 vaccination will only be granted if you have:
- history of severe allergic reaction (like anaphylaxis) after previous administration of a COVID-19 vaccine using a similar platform (mRNA or viral vector)
- allergy to any component of the specific COVID-19 vaccine or its container (polyethylene glycol for Pfizer’s Comirnaty and Moderna’s Spikevax COVID-19 vaccines)
- history of major venous or arterial thrombosis with thrombocytopenia following vaccination with AstraZeneca’s Vaxzevria COVID-19 vaccine
- history of capillary leak syndrome following vaccination with AstraZeneca’s Vaxzevria vaccine
- history of myocarditis or pericarditis after a first dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer Comirnaty or Moderna Spikevax)
- experienced a serious adverse event after receiving your first dose of COVID-19 vaccine (a serious adverse event is defined as life-threatening, requires in-patient hospitalization or prolongs an existing hospitalization, results in persistent or significant disability, incapacity or in a congenital anomaly or birth defect)
A medical exception can only be granted by a nurse practitioner or doctor. Don’t go to an emergency department to request a medical exception (they can’t provide an exception).
To get a medical exception, you need to meet 1 of the medical criteria and contact a nurse practitioner or doctor to discuss your medical exception status (they will determine if you qualify for an exception). If you don’t have a healthcare provider, call 811 to determine if you qualify for an exception. If you qualify, 811 will refer you to a nurse practitioner or doctor for a medical exception.
People who receive a medical exception for COVID-19 vaccination receive a Valid Medical Contraindication for COVID-19 Vaccination letter. You need to present the letter anywhere in Nova Scotia proof of full vaccination is required.