Roque cites need for universal vaccination certificate

Published June 7, 2021, 10:36 AM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said there should be an international agreement to have a standard certificate so it will not be difficult for countries to authenticate coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination cards.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque (OPS / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Roque made the statement after the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases allowed Filipinos who were fully vaccinated in the Philippines to enter the country and undergo only a week of facility-based quarantine.

In his remarks during the ceremonial vaccination of members of the A4 priority group in Pasay City, Roque explained why it would be difficult to implement the same rules to Filipinos who were vaccinated overseas.

“Wala pa po tayong kasunduan sa buong daigdig kung pano natin mabe-verify yung authenticity ng mga vaccination card sa buong daigdig (There is no international agreement yet on how we can verify the authenticity of vaccination cards),” he said Monday.

“Baka kinakailangan magkaroon ng isang international na kasunduan kung dapat magkaroon ng standard na vaccination certificate nang sa ganoon hindi po problema ang pag-authentic kung totoo o peke yung vaccination card (Perhaps we need to have an international agreement if we should have a standard certificate so we won’t have any problem in authenticating vaccination cards),” he added.

On Friday, the IATF approved the guidelines on inbound international travel to any port of the Philippines for all fully vaccinated individuals who have been inoculated in the Philippines.

An individual shall be considered as having been fully vaccinated two or more weeks after receiving the second dose in a two-dose series, or two or more weeks after receiving a single-dose vaccine.

A fully vaccinated individual must carry his vaccination card, which must be verified prior to departure, and must be presented to a Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) representative for re-verification at the Department of Transportation (DOTr) One-Stop Shop upon arrival in the Philippines.

All inbound fully vaccinated individuals shall be required to undergo a seven-day facility-based quarantine upon arrival. The BOQ shall ensure strict symptom monitoring while in the quarantine facility. They shall only be tested for COVID-19 if he manifests symptoms during his stay in the facility.

After completing the seven-day facility-based quarantine, the BOQ shall issue a Quarantine Certificate indicating the individual’s vaccination status.

On Monday, Roque assured the public that the IATF will continue discussing arrival protocols for all those who were vaccinated following criticisms saying the seven-day quarantine should apply to those who got vaccinated overseas.

“Papunta tayo run, pero dito po sa Pilipinas, nagsisimula pa lamang tayo ng A4 (We will get there but for now, here in the Philippines, we just started with the A4 group),” he said.

“Siguro naman po kung nakapagantay naman tayo ng mahigit isang taon bago dumating ang bakuna, makapagaantay naman tayo ng konting panahon para magkaroon ng pagkakataon ang buong mundo na magkaroon ng kasunduan kung pano nga bang gagawin sa mga taong nabakunahan na (We waited for more than a year for the vaccines, maybe we can wait a little more to allow the entire world to have an agreement on how to deal with those who were fully vaccinated),” he added.

At present, all returning overseas Filipinos are required to undergo a 10-day facility-based quarantine and another four days at their destination.