House bill eyes issuance of COVID-19 vaccine passports

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 22) — A lawmaker is pushing for an identification system for those who will receive the COVID-19 vaccine once it becomes available in the country.

Ang Probinsyano Party-list Rep. Ronnie Ong has filed House Bill 8280 which seeks to issue a vaccination passport as an identification system for those who got inoculated against COVID-19.

The bill, also known as the Vaccine Passport Act, was filed on December 17 but only shown to the media on Monday.

Under the bill, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, particularly the Departments of Health, Tourism, Foreign Affairs, Trade and Industry, and Transportation are mandated to "coordinate and provide for a single internationally-recognized vaccine passport to serve as proof that a person has been vaccinated against COVID-19."

Ong said the passport will be issued "as a matter of right whether or not the person availed of the free vaccination program of the government or was vaccinated through personal and other means."

The agencies, in accordance with evidence-based or internationally-recognized policies, must also list down and regularly update the exemptions or activities allowed for vaccine passport holders such as, but not limited to the following:

- International and domestic travel, including non-essential travel

- Employment abroad

- Local checkpoint and quarantine exemptions

- Opening of and access to some business establishments; and

- Post-vaccination protocols applicable to vaccine passport holders, as may be determined by the IATF, in relation to rules on public gatherings, use of face mask and face shield

Business establishments may also decide to require people to show the vaccine passport until after the Department of Health declares that the virus has been totally eradicated, the bill noted.

"Although the COVID-19 inoculation is still a few months away from entering our borders, it is but proper to take further preparations and necessary steps for its unhampered implementation and maximization," Ong said.

He added: "It is our hope that this bill will be considered and approved the soonest possible time before the possible roll out of the vaccine on June 2021 in order to restore people's trust and confidence to travel with the end view of reviving and bolstering our economy."