As is, traveling can be stressful and a hassle already, even if you are a traveler at heart. There’s the visa application, itinerary planning, packing, booking, and getting all other necessary documents for the trip. And as time-consuming— not to mention, costly— as this may already sound, the COVID-19 pandemic might have just made it even more so.
Because of the quarantine and health protocols in place, those who want to travel still have to complete the necessary documents like tickets and book accommodations— but now, added information such as barangay or police clearances and COVID-19 test results are also needed. (WATCH: DOT Gives Tips for Safe Travels in Breathtaking Video Ad)
And just recently, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque is saying that vaccine passports will be given by the Department of Health (DOH) once the country’s vaccination program commences. The passports will be given to individuals who were already inoculated, and are going to be required whenever people will be traveling.
COVID-19 Vaccination Passport
Roque made the statement after Navotas City Mayor Toby Tiangco expressed his concern on how they will be able to monitor those who are already vaccinated and how to validate if people’s passports are legitimate. “Ang alam ko, Mayor Tiangco, talaga naman pong mag-iisyu ang DOH ng vaccine passport,” he said.
The vaccination passport will bear the name of the individual, residence, other personal information, and the shots they already received. Lawmakers are also looking to use this vaccination passport as an exemption in taking RT-PCR (swab) tests for individuals who will be needing to travel for any purpose. (Read: How Do Health Workers Ensure Their and Their Patients’ Safety?)
The passport, according to DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, may be used as a requirement for border control when protocols are further eased. However, the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-EID) has yet to release guidelines about the said passport.
Travel Protocols in Other Countries
In the United States, President Joe Biden has already ordered agencies under him to look at the possibility of linking COVID-19 vaccination certificates to other vaccination documents that may be used by individuals for travel requirements and the like. This would also include interstate travel.
On the other hand, Denmark has announced that in the next couple of months, they will be issuing their citizens with a digital passport that will let authorities know that they have already been vaccinated against COVID-19.
You can read more about vaccine passports here.