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Vietnam Issues Over 14 million Digital COVID-19 Vaccination Passports

Image credit: Ministry of Information and Communications

The Ministry of Health recently informed that it has issued more than 14 million electronic COVID-19 vaccine passports to the general public, a month after its official rollout on 15 April.  The passport is available on the government’s mobile application, PC COVID-19, which is available on both iOS and Android stores or Digital Health (So suc khoe dien tu) apps. By providing a secure and easy-to-use digital mechanism to verify vaccination statuses, governments can accelerate the re-opening of the economy and build a secure and trusted foundation for further digital healthcare initiatives in the future.

The vaccine passports have 11 fields of information: name, date of birth, nationality, the targeted disease, doses of vaccines received, date of vaccination, lot number of the vaccine batch, type of vaccine, vaccine product received, the vaccine manufacturer, and a code for the certification. The digital passports display all vaccine data in both Vietnamese and English. Data has been encoded into a QR code, which expires after 12 months. Following their expiry, people will be notified, and a new QR code will be created.

According to a government statement, the health ministry has urged relevant authorities and subordinate units to complete updating information regarding 34 more million doses before 1 June to facilitate the issuance of COVID-19 vaccine passports. The ministry had also requested localities to implement vaccine information clarification procedures. Medical staff and police officers in the localities are in charge of the process. As regulated, immunisation facilities must check and verify information on vaccination data. Inaccurate information will be sent to local police officers and the corrected data will be sent back to the Department of Preventive Medicine for a digital signature. The data with a digital signature will be sent to the management system for the issuance of a vaccine passport.

The vaccine passports are issued free of charge to all citizens, according to officials. Citizens are not required to go through any additional procedures except to check that their data is correct and complete. In case the information is not correct or not available, they must send feedback on the vaccination portal system. The vaccine passports were rolled out on a trial basis in late March for those vaccinated against COVID-19 at Ha Noi’s three major hospitals. Vietnam has so far reached a mutual recognition of vaccine passports with 27 European Union countries and 54 nations and territories.

Earlier this month, ASEAN member countries announced their support for a digital technology convergence to develop a globally-accepted vaccine passport. The Indonesian Health Minister, Budi Gunadi Sadikin, said at a press conference that ASEAN will issue a joint statement on its countries’ adoption of health protocol standards. The proposed vaccine passport will adopt an overseas travel passport mechanism utilised by each country’s immigration authority for ascertaining a traveller’s identity. Sadikin also noted that ASEAN health ministers have approved the establishment of an ASEAN Centre for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases (ACPHEED) as a collaborative effort to deal with extraordinary events and future pandemics. The three pillars of ACPHEED are surveillance or detection, response, and risk management, which are supported by three ASEAN representative countries, namely Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia.

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