A myriad of people, composed mostly of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and travelers, line up at the Bureau of Quarantine to secure an international certificate of vaccination against polio after 19 countries required the same prior to issuing entry visa to visitors. Said countries include Afghanistan, Belize, Brunei Darussalam, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Maldives, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, and Ukraine.
Aside from the document, a daily average of 600 individuals procure certification on vaccination versus yellow fever, says the Bureau of Quarantine. Consequently, the public is advised to bear with it in availing its services, starting from the vaccination, payment of PHP300 for documentation, up to securing the head physician’s signature. The agency, however, ensures that it gives priority to those whom need to depart soon, in which case, only the International Certificate of Vaccination card is required to make it to their flight schedules. “Kino-consider namin. If they can show their tickets and . . . copy ng tickets nila na talagang paalis na sila, ipa-prioritize namin po” (We give favor. If they can show their tickets and copies of said tickets indicating that they are really leaving, we do prioritize them,” elaborates, Dr. Michael Sherwin Evangelista, quarantine medical officer III, Bureau of Quarantine.
In response to the large influx of guests, the bureau is crafting a contingency plan which include multiplying its staffers and extending its operating hours.
The bureau advises the public to ask embassies for updates on the requirements to avoid being questioned in immigration offices of other countries. If they will be held in custody due to lack of papers, impediment and payment of more expensive prices may result.