ASEAN member countries aim to implement a universal COVID-19 certificate

This mechanism will be spearheaded by representatives from Indonesia, Malaysia's Deputy Health Minister Aaron Ago Dagang shared at the 15th ASEAN Health Ministers Meeting (AHMM) & Related Meetings.

ASEAN member countries have agreed on a "mutual recognition of COVID-19 vaccination certificates" framework, Malaysia's Deputy Health Minister Aaron Ago Dagang announced on 15 May 2022 (Sunday) during the 15th ASEAN Health Ministers Meeting (AHMM) & Related Meetings held in Bali, Indonesia. This, he said, would ensure "smooth border travel" between the nations.

For information, the AHMM is a platform for Malaysia - together with other ASEAN member countries - to discuss the direction of the ASEAN health sector, and strengthen the resilience of the ASEAN health system and recovery from COVID-19.

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Minister Aaron explained that the framwork will be implemented using an ASEAN Universal Verification Mechanism, or other mechanisms that have been developed based on the technical specifications of the World Health Organization (WHO). With this mechanism in place, it can "facilitate the verification of COVID-19 vaccination certificates issued by each ASEAN member country", he added.

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According to the Minister, the development of the ASEAN Universal Verification Mechanism will be spearheaded by Indonesian representatives, which Malaysia "appreciates". He shared that Malaysia is "of the view" that this voluntary system has high potential to support ASEAN member countries that do not yet have the COVID-19 vaccination certificate verification system. "It is important to facilitate the opening of borders and further accelerate the process of ASEAN's recovery from COVID-19," Minister Aaron said.

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Providing more details on the framework, Indonesia's Minister for Health, Budi Gunadi Sadikin explained that it will abide by the same health protocol standards - just that it is "technology-based". On top of that, it will go according to the "standard" of the COVID-19 vaccination certificates issued by ASEAN member states, and has "a secure QR code", and is "digitally signed to protect against counterfeiting".

The meeting also welcomed the operationalisation of the ASEAN Centre for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases (ACPHEED), which, per the statement by Singapore's Ministry of Health, will enhance ASEAN’s capacity in prevention, detection and response to public health emergencies.

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Image / Kementerian Kesehatan Indonesia

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