Malaysia Healthcare Chronicles

Healthcare Travel Commentary: The Talk on Digital Vaccine Passports

Increased talks of issuing digital vaccine passports and mobile health passes to facilitate industry and economic growth is being considered in several countries around the globe. Closer to home, The Association of Private Hospitals of Malaysia (APHM) is in support of this and is urging the government to establish an internationally recognised vaccine passport to boost healthcare travel and expedite economic recovery. On 20 June, Director-General, Ministry of Health Malaysia, YBhg. Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Dr. Noor Hisham Abdullah said that the country is considering proof of COVID-19 vaccination as a requirement for interstate and foreign travel once more people are fully vaccinated.

Elsewhere, the European Union has made available its COVID-19 passport for all EU citizens and residents, as well as for specific categories of travellers from third countries since July 1. The certificate aims to restore the freedom of travel within the EU without the need to quarantine or test for COVID-19 (though the Member States may impose such restrictions on particular countries with a higher COVID-19 rate). Japan is also in plans to rollout COVID-19 inoculation certificates this summer to vaccinated residents traveling abroad, hoping to give business travel and other economic activities a boost.

In terms of public acceptance on vaccine passports, a recent survey by market research firm Ipsos showed that more than three-quarters or 78% of adults surveyed across 28 countries agreed that COVID-19 vaccine passports should be required of travellers entering their country, while 92% of Malaysians surveyed were largely in favour of this implementation.

Whilst reception to the vaccine passports is positive, the safety of Malaysians and healthcare travellers remain our topmost priority. Malaysia Healthcare will continue to work with the relevant stakeholders and authorities to continue to build confidence for Malaysia as a safe and trusted healthcare travel destination. This will help us ensure that we can provide continuity of care for those who seek it.

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