A party-list lawmaker has filed a bill that intends to systematize the country’s mass vaccination protocols against Covid-19 and other infectious diseases by providing immunization or vaccination passports for all of those who would receive their vaccine shots.
Rep. Ronnie Ong of the Ang Probinsyano party-list group filed House Bill 8280 or the Vaccination Passport Act, as the country prepares to secure and roll out the needed vaccines to immunize the population against the Covid-19 virus.
"The government must fully document the entire inoculation process to ensure that health authorities can monitor the efficacy of the vaccines and determine its side effects if there is any," Ong said.
He noted that some business establishments may opt to require people to show this passport until after the Department of Health declares that the threat of the Covid-19 virus has been totally eradicated.
The bill mandates the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on COVID-19, particularly the Department of Health (DOH), Department of Tourism (DOT), the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Transportation (DOTr), to “coordinate and provide for a single internationally-recognized vaccine passport to serve as proof that a person has been vaccinated against COVID-19.”
He said the vaccination passport “shall 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 bill stated that the IATF, in accordance with evidence-based or internationally-recognized policies, shall list down and regularly update the exemptions or activities allowed for holders of COVID-19 Vaccine Passport such as, but not limited to: 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, etc.
"In effect, the vaccination passport is basically a badge that proves that one is safe to mingle with other people and engage in activities without the need to use face masks and face shields and observe social distancing rules," Ong said.
The bill also provides penalties for production and possession of forged or fake vaccination passport as provided for under Republic Act 8239 or the Passport Act of 1996.