Vietnam’s premier has directed relevant agencies to work with their foreign counterparts on reciprocal recognition of COVID-19 immunization certifications, often called 'vaccine passports,' to facilitate travel amid the pandemic.
In a recent dispatch, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Health to promptly discuss the mutual recognition of COVID-19 vaccination certifications with competent authorities of ASEAN countries, EU member states, the U.S., China, Japan, and others.
Such reciprocal recognition is important and necessary in the current context when many countries in the world have reopened their economies and brought socio-economic activities back under 'new normal conditions' while continuing to drive back the COVID-19 pandemic, PM Chinh said.
'Vaccine passports,' which may be in paper or electronic form, have been applied by some areas in the country as a means to welcome back international tourists in the coming time.
Recently, the Politburo has issued a document allowing the island city of Phu Quoc off the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang to pilot a plan, expected to kick off in November, to welcome international visitors with certificates of COVID-19 vaccination.
Under a trial 'vaccine passport' program, northern Quang Ninh Province received 297 Vietnamese passengers returning from Japan on September 4, 345 Vietnamese from the U.S. on September 9, and 301 Vietnamese passengers from France on September 23.
All the passengers had been fully vaccinated and had a negative COVID-19 test at least 72 hours before their departure.
Upon their arrival, they were put under collective quarantine for seven days instead of 14 days as previously.
Vietnam is proceeding with plans to shift from the target of achieving 'zero COVID-19' to responding safely to the pandemic so that it can revive its economy and social life under 'new normal conditions' after months of lockdown.
As part of the steps for socio-economic recovery, the country is speeding up COVID-19 immunization, with over 30.42 million first shots and some 7.94 million second jabs having been administered to people nationwide by Sunday, according to the health ministry’s data.
Since the pandemic hit Vietnam in early 2020, the Southeast Asian nation has documented 756,689 COVID-19 cases, including 527,926 recoveries and 18,584 deaths, in 62 out of its 63 cities and provinces, the ministry said.
The only location currently free from the novel coronavirus is northern Cao Bang Province, where measures to prevent the virus have been strictly applied.