Palace: Digital vaccination certificates out next month

Alexis Romero - Philstar.com
Palace: Digital vaccination certificates out next month
Philippine General Hospital Director Gerardo Legaspi become the first person in the Philippines to officially get the COVID-19 vaccine on March 1, 2021.

MANILA, Philippines — The government aims to issue digital COVID-19 vaccination cards by next month to address the lack of uniformity in certificates showing a person's inoculation status, Malacañang said.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the Department of Information and Communications (DICT) has launched VaxCertPH, which involves the setting up of a database of persons who have been vaccinated for COVID-19.

He said the agency would then issue a digital certificate that is expected to be recognized by foreign governments.

The lack of uniform standards for authenticating vaccine certificates has stalled the processing of the employment documents of migrant workers. Hong Kong, which hosts about 130,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), has refused to recognize the vaccination cards issued by local government units. 

"It will be a digitally signed vaccine certificate to be developed for the DOH (Department of Health) and it will be fully compliant with the WHO (World Health Organization) new standard of digital documentation of COVID-19 certificates," Roque said during a meeting of the government's pandemic task force last Monday.

"Our appeal to our people, to our OFWs who need to leave, you can go to the Bureau of Quarantine to get yellow cards. But as soon as possible, we expect, maybe not later than September, we will be able to issue VaxCertPH," he added.

Roque said the digital vaccination certificates would be interoperable and cannot be counterfeited because it would be digitally signed. They can also be recognized by different applications being used to verify vaccination status like the IATA Travel Pass and AOKpass.

"Names of persons coming from LGUs (local government units) are being uploaded and the number of persons being registered in the DICT's VaxCertPH," the Palace spokesman said.

Roque said 77% of the line list have been submitted while 13.6% have data quality issues. Local governments are now being trained on the issuance and use of vaccination certificates, he added.  

Roque said while all WHO member countries accept yellow cards issued by the quarantine bureau, the international body is urging governments to fast-track the development of digital vaccine certificates.

The Philippines began vaccinating people against COVID-19 in March.

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