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Will you need a ‘vaccine passport’ to go out? This bill makes that a possibility

Will you need a ‘vaccine passport’ to go out? This bill makes that a possibility

  • The “vaccine passport” under this bill isn’t just limited to COVID-19, and can be used for emerging infectious diseases in the future

While we have yet to receive confirmation on which vaccine we’ll be getting, government officials are already placing measures that will identify citizens who have received their anti- COVID-19 shots. One of these is Senate Bill No. 1994, which authorizes the health secretary to issue “vaccine passports” to citizens.

Author Sen. Grace Poe said the bill was filed “should legislation be needed to enable the issuance of a vaccine passport to Filipino citizens.” Prior to this bill, the Department of Health (DOH) revealed plans to roll out similar documents once vaccination begins in the country.

Under this measure, vaccinated persons will be issued a “vaccine passport” that contains their basic personal information, the type and purpose of the vaccine, as well as the person or institution that administered it. 

The DOH will issue guidelines on the period of its validity, while the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) will issue regulations on which activities may require a vaccine passport. This may include international and domestic travel as well as access to public establishments and gatherings.

Despite these provisions, the bill said  that the vaccine passport will not be considered as valid proof of identity.

If enacted into law, anyone who uses a fake or counterfeit vaccine passport or uses that which was issued to another person will pay a fine of  up to P90,000 and face imprisonment of up to 10 years. Defacing, altering, or destroying a vaccine passport will be punishable with  a fine of up to P60,000 and prison  time of up to 10 years.

According to Poe, the bill has been “future-proofed,” which means it authorizes the health secretary to issue vaccine passports for emerging or re-emerging infectious diseases that may arise in the future. © 2020. Hinge Inquirer Publications, Inc.