News

Covid vaccine verification: Govt. looks at App and QR codes

  • Aimed at reducing personal touch and improving convenience

 

  • Mandatory vaccine verification for public transport mooted

 

By Skandha Gunasekara

The Government will introduce a mobile phone app and QR codes to verify the vaccination status of citizens when entering public places from January, The Sunday Morning learns. 

“We are trying to start from January. We are working with the technical team to get the app and QR code facilities up and running. The legal aspects have already been sorted out by the Attorney General’s (AG’s) Department,” Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said. 

Adding that he hopes to have the system ready soon to enable ease of access to the public, he said: “We are trying to get the QR code ready by 1 January. I don’t want people to be asking for the vaccine card every time an individual goes to a public place, and it will be a hassle carrying the card all the time. So this way, only those who don’t have a smartphone will have to carry a card.” 

According to the Minister, an in-house IT team, as well as a private IT company, would be working on the QR code and app. “I’ve got the IT Department at the Ministry, and we are also looking at a few IT companies who are handling this,” he said. 

The Minister added that authorities were considering implementing mandatory vaccination verification for public transport systems as well.  

“We are also contemplating whether we can implement the same system for public transport. At present, we are asking to limit the number of passengers to 50% of the seating capacity. However, that is not going to be viable for bus owners, since it will mean bus fares will increase further, posing an additional burden to the public. This (new system) will also make sure everyone gets the vaccine,” he explained.  

He said that while the Government could not make vaccinations compulsory, this method would ensure that those who were unvaccinated would not put the lives of others at risk. 

He said: “Our argument is that we cannot make it compulsory to get the vaccine because it is voluntary, but we will make all the facilities available to get the vaccine. But they (the unvaccinated) don’t have the right to endanger someone else’s life.”