Creation of sub-technical working group on vax certification OK’d

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has approved the creation of a sub-Technical Working Group (TWG) tasked to facilitate the issuance of digital vaccination certificates for fully vaccinated persons.

In a press statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the sub-TWG would craft policies on the distribution of national certificates to individuals who have received two doses of any coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccine.

“The IATF approved the constitution of a sub-Technical Working Group to design, deploy, support, and recommend relevant policies related to the national certificate for Covid-19 vaccinations, otherwise known as ‘VaxCertPH’,” said Roque, also acting as IATF-EID spokesperson.

The sub-TWG will be led by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), he said.

Roque said members of the sub-TWG include the Department of Health (DOH), the departments of the interior and local government, foreign affairs, tourism, transportation, and labor, and the National Privacy Commission and other agencies that may be included by the DICT.

“VaxCertPH” is a portal and mobile application developed by the DICT for the DOH for the issuance of digital vaccination certificates for fully vaccinated Filipinos.

In a separate briefing Thursday, DICT Undersecretary Emmanuel Rey Caintic said the system would allow the public to apply for their certificate through an online portal by the first week of September.

“Doon po nila ilalagay ang detalye ng mga pangalan nila at saka kung kailan po iyong petsa ng kanilang pagbakuna para ma-check at ma-look up natin sa ating vaccine information database (That’s where they will put all of their details like their name or when they were vaccinated that will be looked on our vaccine information database),” he said.

If the information entered matches what is available in the database, he said the vaccine certificate will be immediately issued.

“Kung hindi man, may contact center na tatawag sa kanila at aalalayan sila para makuha ito (If not, there will be a contact center that will call them and guide them through getting their certificate),” Caintic said.

If their record still cannot be found, he said the concerned local government unit (LGU) could have failed to send their record to the system.

“Huwag mag-alala kasi tinuturuan po natin ang mga LGUs ngayon kung paano matulungan ang kanilang mga constituents sa pagkuha at pag-rectify at pag-aayos ng kanilang mga datos (Don’t worry because we’re teaching our LGUs on how to assist their constituents by rectifying and securing their data),” Caintic said.

The certificate, he said, can be used in tandem with their passport to go overseas.

He said while the system is ready and already up-to-par with the WHO’s digital documentation Covid certificate, LGUs are still being trained to allow for its smooth rollout.

The public’s vaccination data will be managed by the DICT and the DOH.

“At ang pag-issue po ng vaccine certificate ay private key encrypted at ito’y hawak lang po ng DOH (The issuance of this vaccine certificate is private key encrypted and this is only in the hands of the DOH),” Caintic said.

To ensure authenticity, the vaccine certificates will be “digitally signed” based on the records of the DOH.

“Sila [DOH] lang po ang mismong nag-iisyu ng certificate na ito, sila lang po ang nag-sign (Only the DOH will issue this certificate, they’re the only ones who will sign),” Caintic said.

To date, he said majority of LGUs, especially in Metro Manila, are able to submit “100 percent” of the information on the vaccinations they have administered daily.

As of August 18, about 29,127,240 Covid-19 vaccine doses have been administered nationwide.

A total of 12,877,197 individuals have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, while 16,250,043 others have received the first dose.