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Use of vaccine passport pushed

Alan Peter Cayetano
Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano

TAGUIG-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano is proposing to the national government to consider giving Filipinos a vaccine passport which indicates the holder has already been inoculated against COVID-19.

This vaccine passport will help Filipino travelers to reconnect with the rest of the country and the world, the former Speaker said.

According to Cayetano, while he fully supports and welcomes the government’s coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination road map, he is also underscoring the need to establish a credible vaccine passport.

“We also have to keep in mind that this is more than just a public health initiative, it is a key element in bringing back public confidence and reviving the economy,” Cayetano said in a statement shortly after the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases rolled out the vaccination road map in a media conference on Wednesday.

Vaccine passports or certificates are already being used in some countries, including Bahrain where Filipinos have been showing photos of their passports online.

Rosalie Wood Nochefranca, Arnel Estrella, and Alfonso Ver showed off their certificates in Facebook posts from December 28, 2020 to January 4, 2021, with Ver also urging other Filipinos in Bahrain to get their shots with the Bahrain Ministry of Health.

According to its website, the Bahrain Ministry of Health provides the vaccination certificate to individuals after they complete their vaccination schedule.

In its media briefing, the IATF said negotiations with various pharmaceutical companies developing COVID-19 vaccines will eventually yield 148 million doses for the Philippines, more than enough to cover the country’s population.

Under the road map, from 50 million to 70 million Filipinos will be vaccinated this year, starting with health care workers, the vulnerable, indigent seniors, poor communities, uniformed personnel, teachers and school workers, government workers, essential workers, vulnerable and co-morbid groups, OFWs, other remaining work force, and students.

Cayetano said the vaccination road map is “a good start” and asked all concerned agencies “to work together to ensure that this will be implemented efficiently and effectively at the soonest time.”