MANILA - The Department of Health (DOH) will be issuing vaccine passports to Filipinos once the government begins its vaccination program against COVID-19, Malacañang said Monday.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque addressed the concerns of Navotas City Mayor Toby Tiangco who requested the DOH to issue vaccine passports.
Tiangco noted that with around 1,500 local government units in the country, it would be hard to know if a person's passport issued by each LGU is genuine or not.
“Ang alam ko, Mayor Tiangco, talaga naman pong mag-iisyu ang DOH ng vaccine passport,” Roque said during a public briefing.
(What I know, Mayor Tiangco, is DOH will really issue vaccine passports.)
Roque said the Philippines is ready to launch its COVID-19 vaccination drive next week.
Asked to clarify if the inoculations would start on Feb. 15, Roque said, "If it (vaccine batch) arrives--and we only need a day or 2 naman to start the vaccination, we will proceed."
Several lawmakers earlier proposed the implementation of a national COVID-19 vaccine passport program to help the government keep track of vaccinated individuals, and possibly allow them to have the benefits of vaccination, such as exempting them from PCR test requirements.
The country's inter-agency task force on COVID-19, however, has yet to issue guidelines for vaccinated Filipinos.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire earlier said that the certificate received by those vaccinated against COVID-19 can be used as a requirement for border control once the system is widely implemented.
The vaccination card will also indicate whether or not the person has already received one or two doses of the vaccine, she explained.
The Philippines has logged 538,995 confirmed COVID-19 cases, as of Monday, including 27,992 active infections, 11,231 fatalities and 499,772 recoveries.