Vietnam begins granting vaccine passports, with 500,000 issued on first day

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Vietnam begins granting vaccine passports, with 500,000 issued on first day

This image shows a high school student receiving a COVID-19 vaccine shot in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Duyen Phan / Tuoi Tre

Vietnam’s Ministry of Health began issuing digital COVID-19 vaccination certificates, also called vaccine passports, on Friday, with around 500,000 such documents provided on the first day.

Half of million of people having been vaccinated at some 200 inoculation points had obtained their vaccine passports by Friday evening, Nguyen Ba Hung, deputy director of the Health Data Center under the ministry’s Information Technology Department, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.

These immunization points are among those having been trained in setting up digital vaccination records necessary for granting vaccine passports, Hung added.

The passport will be displayed on Vietnam’s COVID-19 mobile application PC-COVID or ‘So suc khoe dien tu’ (electronic health book) apps.

Vietnam’s electronic vaccine passports are created based on the standards that have been adopted by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Union (EU) and are currently applied in 62 countries, the official stated.

A vaccine passport, which is actually a COVID-19 vaccination record and/or a COVID-19 recovery certificate, does not replace other exit and entry papers such as passports, visas, international travel documents, laissez-passers, temporary and permanent residence cards, and visa exemption certificates, Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

So far, Vietnam has reached agreements on mutual recognition of vaccine passports with 19 countries, including Japan, the U.S., the UK, Australia, India, Belarus, Cambodia, the Philippines, Palestine, Maldives, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Turkey, Singapore, Saint Lucia, South Korea, Iran and Malaysia.

Holders of vaccine passports of these countries and Vietnam are subject to the same health procedures as local vaccinated people, said deputy spokesperson of the foreign ministry Pham Thu Hang said at a press briefing last week.

The mutual recognition includes exemption for consular authentication or legalization of such passports when they are used in the countries of destination, Hang added.

The foreign ministry said they and Vietnam’s representative missions abroad are actively negotiating and speeding up the process of mutual recognition of vaccine passports with other countries and territories.

Vietnam, with a population of 98 million people, has documented 10,394,533 COVID-19 infections, with 8,863,044 recoveries and 42,924 fatalities, since the pandemic erupted in the Southeast Asian country in early 2020, the health ministry’s data shows.

Health workers have administered 191,869,509 COVID-19 vaccine doses to the nation’s adult population, including 71,405,925 first shots, 68,519,396 second jabs, and the rest for additional primary doses and boosters since vaccination was rolled out in March 2020.

The number of Pfizer-BioNTech doses given to children aged 12 to 17 nationwide has reached 17,231,788, including 8,825,148 first shots and 8,406,640 second jabs, said the ministry.

The agency on Thursday launched an immunization vaccination campaign for children aged five to under 12 nationwide, using Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.

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