Palace spox: Int'l deal may be needed for verifying COVID-19 vaccination status

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 07 2021 02:12 PM

Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) arrive at the arrival lobby of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1 in Pasay City on June 3, 2021. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — Malacañang's spokesman said on Monday an international standard might be needed for verifying the COVID-19 vaccination status of individuals and which protocols would apply to them. 

Palace spokesman Harry Roque said he drew criticism for announcing last week that a shorter, 7-day quarantine would not apply to travelers entering the Philippines who were fully vaccinated abroad. 

"Ang problema po kasi, wala pa po tayong kasunduan sa buong daigdig kung pa'no natin mabi-verify yung authenticity ng mga vaccination card sa buong daigdig," he said in ceremony for the vaccination of economic frontliners.

(The problem is we have no international agreement how to verify the authenticity of vaccination cards worldwide.)

"Ang personal kong pananaw... baka kinakailangan magkaroon ng isang international na kasunduan kung dapat magkaroon ng standard na vaccination certificate, nang sa ganoon hindi po problema ang pag-authenticate kung totoo o peke yung vaccination card," said Roque, who was a professor of international law. 
(My personal view is it might be necessary to have an international agreement on whether or not there should be a standard for a vaccination certificate so that authenticating vaccination cards would not be a problem.) 

The inter-agency task force leading the country's COVID-19 response will discuss arrival protocols for travelers entering the Philippines, Roque said. 

Authorities this June are launching the coronavirus vaccination for essential workers who make up "A4", the fourth inoculation priority group, he noted.

"Siguro naman po, kung nakapag-antay naman tayo nang mahigit isang taon bago dumating ang bakuna, makapag-aantay naman tayo nang konting panahon para magkaroon ng pagkakataon ang buong mundo na magkaroon ng kasunduan kung paano nga bang gagawin sa mga taong nabakunahan na," said Roque. 

(Perhaps if we have waited for over a year for the vaccines to arrive, we can also wait a bit for the world to forge a deal on what to do with vaccinated people.) 

The Philippines has received at least 9.329 million COVID-19 shots, of which nearly 6 million doses have been administered as of June 6. 

Video courtesy of PTV