VTL travellers from US to Singapore can use digital vaccination record instead of Smart Health Card: CAAS
SINGAPORE: Travellers coming from the United States to Singapore on the vaccinated travel lane (VTL) scheme can use their digital vaccination record as the US rolls out the Smart Health Card (SHC) to more states, said the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) on Saturday (Nov 13).
Singaporeans had earlier reported difficulties getting proof of their COVID-19 vaccination in the SHC format, a form of vaccination certificate that Singapore accepts for travellers arriving from the US on the VTL scheme.
It contains a person's clinical information, including vaccination history, and comes with a QR code that needs to be uploaded on the VTL application portal before arrival.
While more states are rolling out the SHC, VTL travellers to Singapore can provide their digital vaccination record retrieved through their state's or local health authority's public health database, said Ms Margaret Tan, CAAS' director of airport operations regulation and aviation security, in a response to CNA queries.
They can also use their physical vaccination record and a letter signed by their vaccination provider to attest to their vaccination status. The letter should contain the traveller’s details and details about the vaccination.
Singaporeans and permanent residents do not need to apply for the vaccinated travel pass (VTP) and can show either of the above documents for verification at the airlines' check-in counter pre-departure and on arrival in Singapore, added Ms Tan.
Short-term visitors and long-term pass holders who need to apply for the VTP but cannot upload their vaccination certificate can apply to the Safe Travel Office with either of the above documents attached for verification.
"Under the VTL, vaccination is an important safeguard for quarantine-free entry into Singapore without compromising public health. We require digitally verifiable proof of vaccination to guard against forgery," said Ms Tan.
NO STANDARDISED VACCINATION PROOF IN US
Ms Tan said that all digital vaccination certificates issued in 15 of the 16 VTL countries can be verified, with 14 having a national system for such certificates to be issued. In the case of Canada, it does not have a national system but has recently developed a standardised proof of vaccination in the SHC format that is "secure and verifiable".
The only exception is the US, which does not have a national system or a standardised proof of vaccination, said Ms Tan. The country instead has "multiple issuers", including individual states, pharmacies, and supermarkets.
Singapore currently accepts vaccination certificates that are issued in the predominant SHC format by "trusted issuers" in the US on the CommonTrust Network or Vaccination Credential Initiative.
There are currently nine US states issuing SHCs: California, Hawaii, Louisiana, New York, Virginia, Colorado, New Jersey, Utah and Washington state.
Five more states, namely Arizona, Maryland, Mississippi, North Dakota and West Virginia are "in the process of doing so", as is the District of Columbia.
Connecticut, Massachusetts and Oklahoma have started testing the system, said Ms Tan.
Besides the states, pharmacies and healthcare providers such as CVS Health, Rite Aid Pharmacy, UCHealth and Walmart are also issuing SHCs.
Some third-party issuers do not administer the vaccination but provide their users with a digital vaccination record, often for a fee.
Ms Tan said that the CAAS is onboarding third-party issuers that check and verify the vaccination records submitted by their users, for example, with state vaccination registries.
"We are not able to accept the digital certificates issued by third-party issuers which do not do such checks," she added.
"With the roll-out of the SHC across more states and the onboarding of credible third-party issuers, we expect most travellers from the USA to be able to produce a digitally verifiable vaccination certificate within the next one to two months."
Travellers are advised to refer to the Safe Travel website for updates on the list of accepted digital vaccination certificates. Travellers who require further assistance may write to the Safe Travel Office through their enquiry form or call the Safe Travel Enquiries helpline at +65 6812 5555.