Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano on Wednesday called on government to establish a “credible vaccine passport” to be used by Filipino travelers as proof that they have already been inoculated against the SARS coronavirus -2.
Cayetano, who is credited for House of Representatives’ huge legislative contribution in addressing the adverse impact to the country of the COVID-19 pandemic, made the proposal as he lauded the government’s vaccination road map.
“We also have to keep in mind that this is more than just a public health initiative, it is a key element in bringing back public confidence and reviving the economy,” Cayetano said in a statement shortly after the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases rolled out the road map in a media conference on January 6, 2021.
“It is therefore essential that we immediately establish a credible certification system — a Vaccine Passport — which will allow Filipino travelers to reconnect with the rest of the country and the world,” he stressed.
The former speaker disclosed that vaccine passports or certificates are already being used in some countries, including Bahrain where Filipinos have been showing photos online.
OFW Rosalie Wood Nochefranca, Arnel Estrella, and Alfonso Ver showed off their certificates in Facebook posts from December 28, 2020 to January 4, 2021, with Ver also urging other Filipinos in Bahrain to get their shots with the Bahrain Ministry of Health.
The Bahrain Ministry of Health provides the vaccination certificate to individuals after they complete their vaccination schedule.
In its media briefing, the IATF said negotiations with various pharmaceutical companies developing COVID-19 vaccines will eventually yield 148 million doses for the Philippines, more than enough to cover the country’s population.
Under the road map, 50 million to 70 million Filipinos will be vaccinated this year, starting with health care workers, the vulnerable, indigent seniors, poor communities, uniformed personnel, teachers and school workers, government workers, essential workers, vulnerable and co-morbid groups, OFWs, other remaining work force, and students.
Cayetano said the vaccination road map is “a good start” and asked all concerned agencies “to work together to ensure that this will be implemented efficiently and effectively at the soonest time.”
“But we must not content ourselves with simply having a map. We must also ensure that no one is left behind, especially the poor and underprivileged,” he added.
Cayetano also reminded the government that politics “must not play a role in who gets or does not get the vaccine” and that it must look to the country’s most vulnerable sectors — especially those in the provinces and rural areas — in ensuring “an equitable application of the benefits of vaccination.”