EDITORIAL - Fake vax cards

The Philippine Star
EDITORIAL - Fake vax cards

People faked RT-PCR test results, so it’s not surprising that some people might fake vaccination cards as the government launches today the “no vax, no ride” policy in the National Capital Region. In an effort to reach the holdouts against COVID inoculation in the NCR, where there is ample supply of vaccines so there is no reason not to get the shots, the government has banned the unvaccinated from taking public transportation.

Depending on the policy of the local government unit, the unvaccinated may still ride tricycles. Those with health problems that prevent them from getting vaccinated are exempted from the ban, but they must present a medical certificate proving their condition before they are allowed on public transport.

It is unclear how mass transport operators and drivers will deal with those who invoke religious beliefs as the reason for refusing vaccination. Pope Francis is vaccinated; several Islamic countries have started booster programs; the Jewish state of Israel is preparing for fourth jabs; India, predominantly Hindu with Sikh and Muslim segments, is even producing its own COVID vaccines; Buddhist Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos are vaccinating their people.

There are those who believe COVID vaccines will turn them into zombies after two years – as several have said even in media interviews – as well as individuals who don’t want their personal information documented by the government even if it is for their own well being. Others don’t trust vaccines developed at record speed.

Some of those who resist the jabs might try to go around the ban by using fake vaccination cards. Several mass transport drivers have said they are unable to distinguish fake from authentic vaccination cards. This is a weakness of the ban that the government must fully address.

For the long term, this problem also gives urgency to the production of a uniform vaccination card, ideally with security features against forgery. Since the vaccination program was rolled out in March last year, there has been much talk about producing a uniform vaccination card. Like digital contact tracing, however, this initiative has gone nowhere. The “no vax, no ride” policy should prompt the government to get serious about producing a vaccination card that cannot be easily faked by any tech-savvy adolescent.


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