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National ID system vital support to mass vaccination

A House leader underscored the need for a national identification system once government starts the mass vaccination against coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In her privilege speech, San Jose del Monte Rep. Rida Robes, chairman of the House committee on people’s participation, said that national ID system may help in the efficient and judicious distribution of COVID-19 vaccine.

By next year, the national government rolls out a vaccination program for the priority group earlier identified by the Inter Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

She pointed out that while some countries have started investing in biometric digital ID for their administration of vaccines, the Philippines can make use of its national ID system which also uses biometric technology to make sure that all those that need to receive the initial supply of the vaccines will get them.

She stated that a biometric digital ID is being considered as “a game changer” in vaccine administration because it has been proven effective in health and humanitarian projects in many countries all over the world.

A health biometric ID has been successfully rolled out in 12 countries which increased health care visits and prevented fraud.

“With the limited supply of initial Covid-19 vaccine, it is important that we have a system to identify the priority patients and make sure the vaccine reaches them. The IATF should seriously consider facilitating the implementation of the national ID system as our biometric ID on the administration of the Covid 19 vaccine in order to identify and track patients even in rural and offline settings to ensure that everyone receives a Covid-19 vaccine,” she said.

The IATF had identified 12 vulnerable groups that will be given first priority for the vaccine based on the guidelines issued by the World Health Organization Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE).

First in line are the frontline health workers from the public and private sectors, indigent senior citizens, remaining senior citizens, indigent population and uniformed personnel.

Other priorities are teachers and school workers from public and private institutions, government workers, essential workers in agriculture, food industry, transportation and tourism, socio-demographic groups at significantly higher risk like people deprived of liberty, People with Disability (PWDs) and Filipinos living in high density areas, overseas Filipino workers, other remaining workforce and students.

The establishment of a reliable and efficient supply chain to monitor the flow of the vaccines is also crucial, Robes said.