Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano. (File photo)

MANILA – Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano on Thursday pushed for a credible “vaccine passport” as proof of inoculation that will allow Filipino travelers to reconnect with the rest of the country and the world.

Cayetano said the vaccine passport is not just a public health initiative, but also a key element in bringing back public confidence and reviving the economy.

“It is therefore essential that we immediately establish a credible certification system — a Vaccine Passport — which will allow Filipino travelers to reconnect with the rest of the country and the world,” Cayetano said.

He made the proposal after the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases rolled out the government’s coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccination road map.

He noted that vaccine passports or certificates are already being used in some countries, particularly citing Bahrain where the vaccination certificates are provided to individuals after they complete their vaccination schedule.

In its media briefing, the IATF said negotiations with various pharmaceutical companies developing Covid-19 vaccines will eventually yield 148 million doses for the Philippines, more than enough to cover the country’s population.

Under the road map, 50 million to 70 million Filipinos will be vaccinated this year, starting with health care workers, the vulnerable, indigent seniors, poor communities, uniformed personnel, teachers and school workers, government workers, essential workers, vulnerable and co-morbid groups, OFWs, other remaining workforce, and students.

Cayetano said the vaccination road map is “a good start”, as he urged all concerned agencies to work together to ensure that this will be implemented efficiently and effectively at the soonest time.

“But we must not content ourselves with simply having a map. We must also ensure that no one is left behind, especially the poor and underprivileged,” he said.

He also reminded the government to ensure that the country’s most vulnerable sectors, especially those in the provinces and rural areas, would experience “an equitable application of the benefits of vaccination”. (PNA)