Just two weeks after the World Health Organization (WHO) finalized the guidance and accompanying technical specifications for vaccination certificates on July 27, 2021, the portal and mobile app for issuing vaccination certificates to fully vaccinated citizens in the Philippines called the “VaxCertPH” is up and running and ready to go live nationwide after training of LGU operators in the next few weeks.

“Even prior to WHO’s issuance of the standards for vaccination certificates, your 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, “ DICT Secretary Gregorio “Gringo” B. Honasan II said. 

Under the Digital Documentation of COVID-19 Certificates: Vaccination Status — Technical Specifications and Implementation Guidance issued on 27 July 2021, the WHO proposed the use of digital vaccination certificates, which documents a person’s current vaccination status, as a mechanism through which a person’s COVID-19-related health data can be digitally documented via an electronic certificate for use in continuity of care or as proof of vaccination for purposes other than health care.

The Philippines’ VaxCertPH developed by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) for the Department of Health (DOH) relies on the data submitted by local government units (LGUs) through the Vaccine Information Management System (VIMS). Thus, VaxCertPH is highly reliant on the quality of data collected in the VIMS.

“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,” Secretary Honasan explained.

In view of this, the DICT in accordance with the directives of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF), is focusing on training operators or users from various LGUs on proper data entry to lessen the chances of data-related errors on the certification portal. The DICT is also providing guidance to LGUs on processing data rectification requests coming from their vaccinees.

Line List submission through D-VAS

The DICT continues to enjoin all LGUs to submit their respective Line Lists of vaccinated individuals through the DICT Vaccine Administration System (D-VAS) in preparation for its plan to launch digital vaccine certificates.

“We are reminding our LGUs to make use of the free DICT-Vaccination Administration System, or D-VAS, which comes with assistance from our DICT field teams on efficient data capturing and submission of Line Lists, or their vaccination events records, to the VIMS,” Secretary Honasan added.

The D-VAS is part of the VIMS that offers automated and computerized processing of vaccination administration that improves efficiency of vaccination of bakuna centers and simplifies the submission of LGU Line Lists to the VIMS. Among other features, the D-VAS also contains directories of vaccine recipients.

“Our goal is to simplify everything by using digital technologies—easier vaccination procedures, and even simpler certification of fully vaccinated individuals. To do this, we need the VaxCertPH to have access to complete and reliable data, and that’s where the role of the D-VAS and the LGUs that would operate it come in,” Secretary Honasan stated.

On July 23, 2021, the DICT and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) signed a Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) directing all LGUs to strictly comply with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) Resolution No. 117, Series of 2021 which mandates the adoption and utilization of the D-VAS in submitting Line Lists of vaccinated individuals.

The JMC defined the Line List as an integral part of the national vaccination program and shall be the official and primary record of the vaccination events (1st dose, 2nd dose, deferral) of citizens and residents of the Philippines. The Line List shall also be used as the primary and authoritative source of information for the national vaccine passport/certificate, and other related documents.

For more information on D-VAS and VaxCertPH, LGUs may contact the DICT’s DREAM Team at vims.dvas@dict.gov.ph or vims.support@dict.gov.ph.