Int'l travelers fully vaccinated in PH required to show vaccine card, certificate

Published June 11, 2021, 10:32 AM

by Genalyn Kabiling

Starting June 16, returning travelers who were fully vaccinated in the country against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) must present certain documents to show proof of complete vaccination.

An airport employee receives a coronavirus vaccine shot during the vaccination rollout at the Manila airport on June 2, 2021. (Ali Vicoy/Manila Bulletin)

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has ruled that apart from the vaccine card, travelers arriving from abroad must carry a government-issued certificate showing the person’s last coronavirus dose.

In the latest Resolution No. 120, the task force has amended its earlier guidelines on the inbound international travel of passengers vaccinated in the country, particularly tightening the process to verify their vaccination status, during a meeting Thursday, June 10.

Just last week, the government allowed a shorter quarantine period for incoming passengers who received vaccines in the country upon arrival in the Philippines. They were previously required to carry only a vaccination card that must be verified prior to departure.

In the latest decision, the IATF included the “certification” of the COVID vaccination as a travel requirement for travelers arriving from abroad.

“The IATF explained the verification process of vaccination cards, stating that a fully vaccinated individual must carry his or her vaccination card which must be verified prior to his/her departure prior to boarding, and a certification issued prior to his/her departure by the Department of Information and Communications Technology or the City Health Officer of the local government unit which administered the last dose necessary for full vaccination,” Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said Friday, June 11.

Upon arrival in the country, such certification must be presented to the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) representative for re-verification at the Department of Transportation One-Stop-Shop (OSS).

Roque said the task force also decided the date of effectivity of the revised travel guidelines will begin on June 16, 2021.

In Resolution No. 119 issued last June 3, the IATF decided that travelers arriving from abroad who had completed vaccination in the Philippines must stay in quarantine for seven days at a facility, instead of the 10-day facility-based quarantine and four days in their place of destination.

The passengers will be required to take a swab only if they show coronavirus symptoms during their quarantine.

Under the IATF resolution, a person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after having received the second dose in a two-dose series, or two weeks after receiving a single-dose type of vaccine. The coronavirus jabs must have an emergency use authorization or compassionate special permit from the country’s Food and Drug Administration.

Under the previous rule, the vaccinated traveler must have a vaccination card that has been verified before departure.

Once the traveler completes the seven-day facility-based quarantine, the BOQ shall issue a quarantine certificate indicating the person’s vaccine status.