The Philippines is set to issue digital COVID-19 vaccination certificates from September.
In a statement, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said that the mobile and web-based platform – VaxCertPH – is already “up and running” and is “ready to go live nationwide” after local government operators complete their training.
According to a news report, overseas Filipino workers in Metro Manila, the nation’s capital region, will be first issued with the certificates next month. The government eyes full implementation nationwide by October.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Developed by the DICT for the Philippine Health Department, the VaxCertPH is an online portal for the issuance of vaccination certificates, which are said to be compliant with the technical specifications set by the World Health Organization for vaccination certificates.
The system relies on data submitted by local governments through the Vaccine Information Management System (VIMS). Local governments are now submitting their respective lists of vaccinated individuals through the Vaccine Administration System of the DICT (D-VAS) ahead of the formal launch of the digital certificates. The D-VAS is part of the VIMS that enables automated and computerised processing of vaccination administration. It also contains the directories of vaccine recipients.
The said list is regarded as the “official and primary record of vaccination events” in the Philippines and the “primary and authoritative source of information” for the national vaccine passport or certificate.
The DICT is also training operators of the system from various local governments on proper data entry to reduce instances of data-related errors.
THE LARGER TREND
At present, local governments in the Philippines are issuing physical cards to their vaccinated citizens. In early August, the Foreign Affairs Department announced that Hong Kong will not recognise vaccination cards issued to overseas Filipino workers as these do not come from a single source. The country is home to many domestic helpers employed in Hong Kong.
To allow the entry of overseas workers, Hong Kong will accept those bearers of the WHO international certificate of vaccination or the “yellow card” issued by the Philippines’ Bureau of Quarantine.
ON THE RECORD
“Our goal is to simplify everything by using digital technologies – easier vaccination procedures, and even simpler certification of fully vaccinated individuals,” DICT Secretary Gregorio B. Honasan II said.