VaxCertPH: Errors in data, delays explained | Inquirer News

VaxCertPH: Errors in data, delays explained

By: - Content Researcher Writer / @CeBacligINQ
/ 05:33 PM November 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—As the country moves on to another milestone in its vaccination campaign against COVID-19—booster shots for health care workers, immunocompromised and senior citizens—vaccine recipients are facing a setback, this time with their vaccination certificates.


During the past weeks, several netizens have shared grievances over their experience in securing their vaccine certificate through VaxCertPH—the country’s vaccine certificate system being managed by the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) and Department of Health (DOH).

According to DICT, VaxCertPH serves as a “free, self-service portal that can be accessed through where vaccinated citizens may acquire a copy of their VaxCertPH certificate.”


“The VaxCertPH certificate is used to represent the COVID-19 vaccination status of a citizen of the Philippines and non-Filipino citizens vaccinated in the Philippines,” the DICT added.

The certificate can also be considered proof of vaccination for international travel since it complies with the digital guidelines issued by World Health Organization (WHO)—unlike vaccination cards issued by different local government units (LGUs), which are also valid.

READ: EXPLAINER: What is VaxCertPH? A guide for the vaccinated

In October, Malacañang announced that VaxCertPH would start accepting requests for digital vaccine certificates.

READ: VaxCertPH to accept digital vaccination certificate requests for domestic use

Launched in September, over 138,000 digital COVID vaccination certificates had already been issued that month, but many who wish to get theirs are faced with delays in the VaxCertPH system. Many, however, may not yet be aware that the VaxCertPH portal is currently available only to users in National Capital Region and Baguio City.

READ: 138,000 digital COVID-19 vax certificates issued so far — DICT exec

Graphic by Ed Lustan

Common complaints and issues

One of the common complaints posted online was the alleged time-consuming process of getting a digital vaccine certificate through VaxCertPH, which takes weeks to complete for others.

Twitter user @itsJayEMD shared this experience.

“After weeks of applying/reapplying and consistent emails and follow-ups, I finally secured my Vaccination Certificate from VaxCert PH,” the Twitter user posted on Nov. 24.


The Twitter user, who is also a licensed physician, also advised the public to have backup pictures of their vaccination cards and government-issued IDs in case their vaccination data are not yet encoded in the VaxCertPH’s database or if any discrepancies need to be addressed.

According to the frequently asked questions (FAQs) section in the VaxCertPH’s website, fully vaccinated individuals can generate their VaxCertPH certificate “instantly”—but if their records are found.

Those who are newly vaccinated can request their VaxCertPH certificate 48 hours after getting their second dose.

“You will not currently be able to request for your certificate if you have only received the first dose,” the VaxCertPH website stated.

Those who got a single-dose vaccine, like Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen, may request certification 48 hours after vaccination.

Twitter user @imnotpeople shared issues she experienced with her VaxCertPH record after finding out that some pieces of her parents’ vaccination information were not encoded in the system.

“@DOHgovph after a week, I checked again if my parents’ #vaxcertph are up since they completed their doses last July 2021. Thankfully they’ve been registered, but the encoded info triggers me…” the Twitter user wrote in a post last Nov. 23.

“Yes, there is an option to update and it’s ok if the names are misspelled, or the birth dates are wrong but to have #NORECORDS for 1st and 2nd doses? Are you okay?” the Twitter user said partly in Filipino.

“Feed your encoders. Please improve the encoding. It can’t always be like this. We have to do better. We’re also tired,” another Twitter post read.

In a separate tweet, the user posted an image of a VaxCertPH record, which indicated that there was “No Record” found for the person’s first vaccine brand and first dose, while the information for the second vaccine brand and the second dose was already there.

“Now I have wasted my time correcting the records,” the Twitter user wrote, tagging the DOH’s official Twitter account.

Based on guidelines issued on the FAQs section of the VaxCertPH’s website, those who have vaccination records that have been incorrectly encoded should click “Update record” to begin the process of correction.

They will then be required to upload a photo of their vaccination card and government-issued ID. Details like email addresses and contact numbers are also needed.

“Your request will be forwarded to the LGU where you received your vaccination so they can validate and rectify your vaccination records.”

“You will be notified through your email address or contact number once your request is completed and you may try requesting again your VaxCertPH through the website.”

VaxCertPH booths

To help address inquiries and concerns on VaxCertPH, several VaxCertPH booths have been set up in different sites—like malls and city halls—scattered around Metro Manila.

READ: VaxCertPh booths now open in Robinsons Malls

READ: SM Supermalls is set to open VAXCertPH booths nationwide

However, one netizen said the VaxCertPH booth “doesn’t have access to anything” and “can only do whatever you already did [use] the VaxCertPH website.”

“So. My colleague can’t retrieve his vax cert from the VaxCertPH site. He’s tried uploading his info and following up with them using his reference no. Still, nothing. So I asked him to try using the VaxCert booth in malls to help him verify or at least check what went wrong,” Twitter user @the3threetres posted on Nov. 19.

“Turns out, VaxCertPH booth doesn’t have access to anything and can only do whatever you already did using the VaxCertPH website. In short, HOLYFUCKINGCHRIST, it’s useless! A spot in the mall at that! OMFG! What a waste of taxpayers’ money!” the Twitter user added.

LGUs and backlogs

The backlogs of LGUs uploading vaccination data of their constituents is a significant factor behind the issues with VaxCertPH, according to DICT Undersecretary Manny Caintic.

“I call on the LGUs. The reason why there are problems in getting VaxCert is because of the unorganized and incomplete uploading of records of the people they vaccinated in their jurisdictions,” Caintic said, speaking partly in Filipino, during a Laging Handa press briefing on Nov. 15.

“The huge cause is on the data encoding. [The LGUs] already have the data but it is not yet submitted to the system to be uploaded. Our LGUs have at least 30 percent backlogs,” Caintic added.

However, he said DICT understands the LGUs despite their backlogs and that the department gives the LGUs at least five days to upload their new data.

“We are not mad. We understand our LGUs. First of all, it’s difficult to vaccinate people and find ways to expedite our vaccination progress,” he said.

Still, Caintic urged LGUs to hire or encourage volunteers to help encode data in the VaxCertPH system and reduce the backlog.

“We encourage the public to help our LGUs. We need more data encoders. It’s really hard to find data encoders because, first of all, we need to feed them and give them incentives,” the undersecretary said.

However, among Metro Manila LGUs, Caintic said the city government of Manila had the highest submission rate—100 percent.

He added that some cities had a 100 percent submission rate. If ever there were issues on data submission by these LGUs, these were primarily just for rectifications or corrections of minor data errors.

Steps taken

To help LGUs with their data encoding backlogs, Caintic said the DICT will open slots for data encoders who can be assigned to different LGUs.

“We will post signup sheets for data encoders who we can assign in different LGUs, especially for the upcoming important activity this November 29 to December 1,” said Caintic referring to the three-day national vaccination campaign.

“We will need almost 50,000 data encoders to help our LGUs, especially on areas that lack data encoders,” he added.

READ: DICT: 50,000 more data encoders needed for 3-day nat’l vaccination drive

In a separate Laging Handa press briefing, Interior Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) would open its internship programs to help hire additional encoders.

“Our problem with the encoding of vaccination data is the problem of a sufficient number of encoders. As our vaccination rate increases, we need more encoders to be encoding the vaccination list that is sent to DICT and DOH,” Malaya said on Nov. 17.

In NCR, Malaya said, the DOLE would open 100 slots for encoders to be deployed to different LGUs that need them.

“This time, we will use the government internship program of DOLE to help the LGUs increase their encoders and resolve their backlogs,” Malaya said.

Still on initial rollout

Amid issues regarding missing and erroneous data, the DICT clarified that the VaxCertPH is available only for NCR or Baguio residents.

Unfortunately, Twitter user @abiortiz20 discovered this only after trying three times to generate her digital vaccine certificate.

“I tried to generate my #vaxcertph for 3x already and my record was not on their website,” the Twitter user said in a post on Nov. 19.

“So I checked the FAQs of and saw this information. So vaxcert can be generated if you had your vax in NCR. WHAT A JOKE!” the post read. (This tweet has been deleted already)

According to Caintic, the government will not yet roll out the registration system nationwide because it focuses on issuing digital vaccine certificates for those planning to leave the country.

He said LGUs should focus on encoding data for those who will travel abroad “because they’re the ones who need it most.”

“Let’s not congest [the website]. Let’s not add pressure to our LGUs,” he added.

Caintic advised the public to check the travel requirements of their destinations before getting their digital vaccination certificate.

“I would like to clarify that our ports of exit will not forbid you from leaving [without a digital vaccination certificate]. You will need your vaxcert for your destination,” he said.

Graphic by Ed Lustan

“That’s why it is important to check first and know if the area you’re going to will ask for a digital vaccine certificate,” he added.

Caintic said some LGUs already require travelers’ digital vaccination certificates instead of RT-PCR test results for domestic travel.

“Some LGUs require vaxcerts instead of RT-PCR test. This is a big deal because we all know that it is costly to undergo RT-PCR testing,” Caintic said.

Beware of fixers

The DICT undersecretary likewise told the public to report fixers who will help register for VaxCertPH in exchange for cash.

“[The digital vaccination certificate] is free. We will not ask for any payment. Our vaccines are free, so it is just right to get our vaxcert for free,” said Caintic.

“Report to us if you encounter fixers who claim to fix and process your vaxcerts [for a price]. You don’t need to pay for your vaxcert,” he added.


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TAGS: Coronavirus, coronavirus Philippines, COVID-19, COVID-19 Vaccine, Department of Health, Department of Information and Communication Technology, DICT, digital vaccine certificate, DoH, INQFocus, LGU, Vaccination, vaccine certificate, VaxCertPH
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