DOH looking for means to verify vaccination status of inbound travelers

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 05 2021 01:43 PM | Updated as of Jun 05 2021 02:47 PM

DOH looking for means to verify vaccination status of inbound travelers 1
Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) arrive at the Terminal 1 of Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Pasay City on June 3, 2021. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The Department of Health is working on means to verify the vaccination status of travelers entering the Philippines as the task force leading the country’s COVID-19 response set the cap for a looser, 7-day mandatory quarantine for arriving passengers who had been fully vaccinated in the Philippines. 

In a public press briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said they would have to craft a system to verify the vaccination status of inbound passengers who took their jabs elsewhere. 

"Kailangan lang natin ayusin 'yung sistema ng form of verification kapag ang isang tao ay nabakunahan sa ibang bansa. Kailangan din natin maipakita at ma-inform ang public na ginagawa natin ito in a phased implementation ” Vergeire said. 

(We just have to fix the system of verification when it comes to those vaccinated in other countries. We have to show and inform the public that we are doing this through a phased implementation.) 

“Ibig sabihin gradual po ‘yan, dahil nakikita natin na may pagtaas ng kaso at hindi pa ganoon karami ang nagpapabakuna. ‘Yung ibang sektor na hindi natin napapabilang dito ay baka puwedeng sa susunod na buwan na,” she added. 

(This means that this is gradual. Because we see that there is an increase in COVID-19 cases and not a lot of people are getting vaccinated. Other sectors not classified here may possibly be included in the next few months.) 

As of June 2, 5,382,172 COVID-19 doses have been administered. Some 4,088,422 have been administered for the first dose while 1,293,750 are considered "fully vaccinated" or have been administered the second dose. 

This constitutes 2.23 percent of the 58 million target population needed to be vaccinated come December 31 to achieve population protection against the virus. 

The IATF announced Friday that arriving travelers who have been fully-vaccinated against COVID-19 are required to undergo 7-day quarantine, instead of 10 days. 

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COVID-19 tests will only be done for said arrivals if they manifest symptoms within the 7-day quarantine period. 

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, however, clarified that the rules will only apply to people fully-vaccinated in the Philippines, and not to overseas Filipino workers vaccinated outside the Philippines. 

Vergeire said they are considering the use of bilateral agreements with certain countries, or adopting the Bureau of Quarantine’s system for verification, which is internationally recognized, she said. 

Outbound OFWs bound for deployment within the next four months were earlier placed under the vaccination priority group A1, originally limited to the country’s 1.7 million health care workers.