Here’s How To Apply For An Official COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate
FYI, it’s different from the Yellow International Certificate of Vaccination.
The Philippines’ VaxCertPH portal, which issues digital COVID-19 vaccination certificates to fully inoculated individuals, just went live this month. With the objective of centralizing and streamlining all vaccination cards from the different local government units (LGU), this project is spearheaded by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and the Department of Health (DOH).
According to the DICT, the VaxCertPH portal and mobile application rely on data submitted by the LGUs through the existing Vaccine Information Management System (VIMS).
“Even prior to WHO’s issuance of the standards for vaccination certificates, the DICT has already been working on the VaxCertPH in coordination with the DOH. With the new guidelines, we will continue to improve upon the current system to comply with worldwide standards,” says DICT Secretary Gringo Honasan.
“For the system to effectively work, we need data from the LGUs that are complete, accurate, and compliant with the prescribed format for uploading to the system. If we have this, then we can expect both the portal and the mobile app to produce the desired results.”
The portal, which is currently in its initial phase, will prioritize Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and Filipinos from NCR or Baguio City who are travelling abroad. DICT Undersecretary Emmanuel Caintic said that the portal will also be fully implemented outside NCR by October.
To apply for your free digital COVID-19 vaccine certificate, all you have to do is provide a copy of your vaccination card, a government-issued ID, and relevant personal information on their website.
It’s different from the International Certificate of Vaccination (ICV) or “yellow card”
Note, however, that the COVID-19 vaccination certificate being issued by the DICT’s VaxCertPH portal is not the same as the yellow International Certificate of Vaccination from the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ).
“The VaxCert is only for COVID-19 vaccination. For vaccines against other diseases such as yellow fever, measles and polio, the yellow card is necessary,” says Caintic. “So they have to know in advance the requirements of their country of destination.”
The International Certificate of Vaccination or yellow card is “a document that records an individual’s vaccinations required to travel abroad,” according to the BOQ, and is the one recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Caintic explained during a House hearing in August that the certification from VaxCertPH will serve as supporting document to the yellow card because it contains more detailed information about the individual's COVID-19 vaccinations.
However, not all countries require an ICV upon entry, and the certificate cannot be considered as an “immunity passport” either. As emphasized by the BOQ, it only serves as a proof of vaccination.
Here’s how to request for your ICV
OFWs, seafarers, and individuals who will travel abroad can apply for a COVID-19 ICV, as long as they are fully vaccinated (at least 14 days after your second dose, or at least two weeks after your one-dose shot).
- To request for your ICV, schedule an appointment on the BOQ’s website.
- An ICV request requires a Php 300 fee, plus an additional Php 70 convenience fee. This is settled before your booking confirmation and may be paid via debit or credit card, GCash, PayMaya, and online bank transfers.
- Check that your appointment schedule is confirmed. Bring your passport, valid ID, and vaccination card to be presented on the day of your appointment. Make sure to have at least two photocopies of each!
- Go to your selected BOQ office for your appointment, and you’re good to go!
According to BOQ Director Roberto Salvador, getting an ICV is not advisable for those who are not leaving the country.
“Hindi po natin ini-encourage ang yellow card kung hindi po gagamitin sa ibang bansa kasi po sobrang daming gusto ng yellow card, nawawalan ng slot iyong mga talagang aalis papunta sa ibang bansa," he says.