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Expanding Vaccination Initiatives with Tech in the Philippines

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VaxCertPH is the country’s vaccine certification system that falls under the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) and the Department of Health (DOH). It is now open to receive domestic requests for digital vaccine certificates.

During a press conference, the Presidential spokesperson confirmed that the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) Resolution No. 146, which provides for the seeking of a vaccine certificate for domestic use, has been approved. According to DICT Undersecretary Emmanuel Rey Caintic, the digital vaccine certificates follow the World Health Organisation’s digital requirements (WHO). Its purpose is to represent the immunisation status of the certificate holder. It was once exclusively available to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who required vaccination certificates for work.

VaxCertPH is part of the DICT’s Vaccine Information Management System (VIMS) and is initially available to fully vaccinated international travellers and Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in the National Capital Region (NCR). Its ultimate goal is to enable the National COVID-19 Vaccination Operations Centre to vaccinate as many people as possible in the shortest time possible.

The Philippine government has owned both the source code and the data gathered by VaxCertPH from its conception, according to DICT. The time when the website will be open to all Filipinos has yet to be determined by the agency.

OpenGov Asia reported, the Digital Vaccine Certificate of the Philippines is a subsystem of the Vaccine Info Management System of the DICT to enable the National Vaccine Operational Centre (COVID-19) to vaccinate the largest possible number of individuals as quickly as feasible. Once the vaccine certificates are launched, the Filipinos are issued free of charge.

A certificate for the vaccination can be completely digital for example, stored on a smartphone app or cloud-based server, substituting for the necessity for a paper card, or digitally representing a traditional paper record. A barcode can be used to develop a connection between the paper record and the digital record. It is printed on a paper vaccination card or applied on it. Neither individual should ever have a smartphone or computer for a digital certificate.

The Digital Vaccine Certificate was developed by the Health Department (DOH) in June 2021 as it increased the necessity to build up an autonomous portal for direct citizens to access. In addition to the QR-code scanning capabilities for the use of the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) and border control authorities, a verification feature was added. The BOQ for food managers, sailors and airline or aviation support staff is different from Yellow Cards.

The system is claimed to be reliant on data given by the LGUs to the central VIMS data warehousing for the purposes of generating a digital certificate. All data is safeguarded by the relevant encryptions and can be validated by authorised agencies, groups or countries cryptographically.

In addition, other initiatives provided by the Philippines government on vaccination rollout are where the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) will deploy three mobile vaccination clinics in Calabarzon that will serve at least 150 barangays and 15,000 severely vulnerable Filipinos who are particularly challenged in accessing LGU vaccine facilities.

Seniors, those with disabilities, bedridden patients, and people with special needs are just a few of them. This move supports the government’s vaccination programme while also protecting communities in Region 4A, which includes P&G’s Cabuyao, Laguna manufacturing plant, as well as P&G employees’ homes and workplaces. The fully equipped PRC mobile vaccine clinics are scheduled to take two to four visits per barangay to administer the Covid-19 vaccine’s first and second doses. The Philippine Red Cross is now determining which cities in Region 4A have the highest priority for this initiative, taking into account the population of severely vulnerable people as one of the considerations to consider.

“Now, the mobile vaccination clinics are a timely endeavour to provide vaccine access and protection for highly susceptible persons who need it most,” remarked P&G Philippines’ president and general manager.

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