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Annex B - Voluntary Principles for the Interoperability of Vaccination Certificates in the APEC Region

In the spirit of APEC’s Putrajaya Vision 2040 and Aotearoa Plan of Action, in particular, the objectives of promoting seamless connectivity and strengthening digital infrastructure;

Acknowledging the substantial health and economic burden wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic on all APEC economies, and the need to ensure the primacy of safety in the resumption of cross-border travel; 

Recalling Leaders’ commitment to protecting people’s lives and safeguarding their health, and for coordinated action and cooperation to overcome the challenges of COVID-19;

Recognising the role of extensive immunisation against COVID-19 as a global public good and a means to support the resumption of cross-border travel, and the importance of equitable access to safe, effective, quality-assured, and affordable COVID-19 vaccines;

Acknowledging concerns around digital inclusion for groups without access to smartphones or stable internet connections and access to technological and health resources for many in our economies; 

Mindful that across the APEC region, proof of vaccination solutions have been developed in a wide range of different approaches and formats, and that some economies use digitally-verifiable vaccination certificates as a tool to manage domestic public health;

Reaffirming the importance of building confidence across APEC economies in each other’s vaccination credentials and the infrastructure and processes that underlie them; and

Noting technical work underway by the World Health Organization supported by the Global Digital Health Partnership (GDHP) and the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in trying to develop an interoperability framework for vaccination certificates,

APEC economies are encouraged to:

  • recognise vaccination certificates issued by other APEC economies as proof of vaccination from COVID-191, including for international border entry and within borders;
  • develop pragmatic and flexible approaches to accepting vaccination certificates in as wide a range of formats as possible;2
  • support efforts toward technical interoperability of digitally-verifiable vaccination certificate formats used in the APEC region;
  • support inclusion in the APEC region by:
    • avoiding policies that discriminate against travellers from economies without digitally-verifiable vaccination certificate solutions or that use different vaccination certificate formats; and
    • where possible, supporting economies with less resources to participate in this effort; and
  • make public their regulations, procedures, and requirements regarding proof of vaccination to help foster confidence, support information sharing and build capability.

APEC economies recognise that each economy is responsible for its own domestic laws, policies and procedures on COVID-19, including quarantine arrangements, and their right to regulate border entry and public health matters within their economies should be respected and observed.


1Without prejudice to decisions by relevant APEC economy domestic health regulatory authorities on the approval and requirements to consider an individual fully vaccinated (i.e., vaccine type, vaccine dosage).

2The range of acceptable formats may include for example: both digital and non-digital formats; paper and non-digitally verifiable proofs of vaccination; and certificates that use a different encryption method or signing process.