Covid-19 'vaccine passports' for travels abroad under study

Alyaa Alhadjri
·2-min read
Covid-19 'vaccine passports' for travels abroad under study
Covid-19 'vaccine passports' for travels abroad under study

COVID-19 | The government plans to issue Covid-19 passports as verification for individuals who have received the vaccine, said Health Minister Dr Adham Baba.

"We are proposing two ways of doing it: have it (proof of vaccination) displayed in the MySejahtera application, or maintain the proof in physical form which is a passport that can be accepted by other countries," he said.

"We are looking at how it is being done in other countries, especially when it comes to travelling abroad.

"We are discussing to see how we can coordinate this vaccine passport at an international level," he said.

Speaking at a press conference after the arrival of the first batch of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at the KLIA in Sepang today, Adham said the Health Ministry and the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry (MOSTI) are refining the plan.

Calls to open up international borders have been made not only to revive the tourism industry but also to reunite long-distance couples and families, some of whom have been separated for nearly a year.

Meanwhile, Adham said the government would engage the private sector as vaccinators in the second and third phases of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme.

"Vaccinators are those certified in medicine comprising doctors, nurses, assistant medical officers and dentists.

"Not everyone can be a vaccinator. We have engaged the private sector to involve private hospitals to administer vaccines," he said.

"We have around 240 private hospitals and we have about 8,000 to 9,000 general practitioners.

"For now, we have initiated discussions with 3,000 general practitioners, but they are to start administering vaccines in the second phase," he said.

Adham added that the role of the private sector and volunteers would be enhanced by the third phase involving all other eligible recipients aside from frontliners and vulnerable groups.

The second phase is scheduled to start from April to August for senior citizens aged 60 and above and vulnerable groups with morbidity issues; while the third phase is to be from May to February 2022 for those aged 18 and above.

On Thursday, health news portal CodeBlue reported that the Association of Private Hospitals of Malaysia (APHM) and the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) - the largest doctors’ group in the country - said the government has yet to initiate formal discussions on whether private hospitals and clinics will be included in the vaccination drive.

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