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Philippines mulls issuing vaccine ‘passports’

The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday said a vaccine card or “passport”, proof that a person has been immunized against COVID-19 such that they can travel, might be issued once the vaccination drive is widely implemented.

DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during a virtual briefing that the vaccine “passport” could soon form part of the requirements for border control.

“Sa tingin ko maipapatupad ‘yan, and when it is widely implemented already, I guess this will be part of the protocol to control the borders of each of these countries we have around the globe,” Vergeire said.

She added: “Magkakaroon ng QR (quick response) code ang bawat isang tao na makaka-receive ng bakunang ito. This will be something like a unique identifier for specific persons who will receive the vaccine.”

The “passport”, which will indicate if a person has taken one or two doses of the vaccine, would be used in all entry points – sea and airports – across the archipelago.

“If it is a protocol, kung hindi po kayo makaka-comply sa protocol na may vaccine na passport or card that would certify that you are vaccinated, hindi po kayo makakalipad,” Vergeire said.

In parallel, she said the DOH will set up a data registry of all vaccinated individuals.

On Thursday, the Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the Emergency Use Authorization application of the coronavirus vaccine developed by Pfizer-BionNTech.

The Pfizer vaccine is the first one to be granted emergency approval in the Philippines.

FDA Chief Eric Domingo said what used to be a six month process for getting approval, the EUA for Pfizer was shortened to 21 days.

“The FDA is now granting an emergency use authorization to Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine,” Domingo said.

The vaccine showed 95% efficacy in all its trials while 92% on all racial groups.

Staff Report

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