by Brent Pin­heiro

In­ter­na­tion­al Vac­ci­na­tion Cards, aka Yel­low Cards (or Carte Jaunes if you’re feel­ing fan­cy), have ex­ist­ed since the 1940s. They’ve been used through­out the years to show proof of vac­ci­na­tion against dan­ger­ous dis­eases like cholera, yel­low fever, and small­pox. In fact, ICVP cards were used in the fight against, and even­tu­al erad­i­ca­tion of small­pox.

In the past few months, we’ve seen sev­er­al coun­tries an­nounce COVID-19 vac­cine re­quire­ments for en­try. Those head­ing to Mi­a­mi Car­ni­val this week though, you on the in­side… the US pol­i­cy re­quir­ing adult in­ter­na­tion­al trav­ellers to be ful­ly vac­ci­nat­ed comes in­to ef­fect in ear­ly No­vem­ber. With no dig­i­tal sys­tem cur­rent­ly in place, Trin­bag­o­ni­ans will need to use a WHO In­ter­na­tion­al Cer­tifi­cate of Vac­ci­na­tion or Pro­phy­lax­is (ICVP) to be able to show proof of COVID-19 vac­ci­na­tion when trav­el­ling in­ter­na­tion­al­ly. Here’s how to get one in Trinidad.

Step 1. Gath­er your doc­u­ments

On an en­ve­lope (let­ter size works best), clear­ly print your full name, con­tact num­ber, and email ad­dress. In the en­ve­lope place the fol­low­ing:

A copy of the bio­da­ta page of your pass­port.

A copy of your lo­cal im­mu­ni­sa­tion card. This is the black and white card is­sued at the vac­ci­na­tion sites or health cen­tres. Pro­vide a copy of both the front page and the in­side where the proof of COVID-19 vac­ci­na­tion is.

Your trav­el itin­er­ary in the form of a valid tick­et for up­com­ing trav­el. For the mo­ment, cards are on­ly be­ing is­sued for up­com­ing trav­el.

An ex­ist­ing ICV card where ap­plic­a­ble. If you don’t have one, one will be pro­vid­ed.

Tip: Check your vac­ci­na­tion card be­fore­hand and en­sure that it is stamped, has a batch num­ber next to each covid vac­cine dose ad­min­is­tered and a sig­na­ture next to each dose. If any of those are miss­ing, go back to where you got vac­ci­nat­ed and ask for it to be cor­rect­ed*. The CMOH of­fice will not is­sue an ICVP if your vac­ci­na­tion is in­com­plete.

The International Card Dropbox at the St George West CMOH office. Photo by Anisto Alves

The International Card Dropbox at the St George West CMOH office. Photo by Anisto Alves

Step 2. Drop off your doc­u­ments

The pro­ce­dure for drop­ping off doc­u­ments varies de­pend­ing on the CMOH of­fice. For ex­am­ple, St George West has a drop­box out­side of the en­trance to the build­ing. St George Cen­tral’s drop­box is in­side the build­ing. An at­ten­dant there checks doc­u­ments be­fore sub­mis­sion. Do not seal the en­ve­lope be­fore­hand. Wait till you get to the CMOH of­fice and find out what sys­tem is in place.

The process usu­al­ly takes 3-5 busi­ness days, but this can change based on the date of trav­el. When I dropped mine off, I got it back in three days. In cas­es of emer­gency trav­el, it may be pos­si­ble to get it processed faster.

TIP: You must vis­it the CMOH of­fice that serves the area that you re­side. Lo­ca­tions and con­tact num­bers are list­ed on the Min­istry of Health web­site. Of­fices are open Mon­day to Fri­day from 8 am to 4 pm.

Example of a completed and verified vaccination card. Photo by Brent Pinheiro

Example of a completed and verified vaccination card. Photo by Brent Pinheiro

Step 3. Col­lect your cer­tifi­cate

Re­vis­it the CMOH of­fice five days lat­er for your doc­u­ments (or on the date you were giv­en). You will re­ceive ei­ther a brand-new ICVP card if you sub­mit­ted on­ly a lo­cal vac­ci­na­tion card, or your ex­ist­ing ICVP card will be ver­i­fied and up­dat­ed. I would say call in ad­vance to en­sure that the doc­u­ments are ready, but calls to some CMOH of­fices went unan­swered for hours when I tried call­ing, so… top up your phone and may the odds be ever in your favour “Hunger Games salute”.

TIP: Un­til a glob­al­ly ac­cept­ed dig­i­tal ser­vice is avail­able, this is the main form of vac­ci­na­tion proof you’ll have for in­ter­na­tion­al trav­el. Get a pro­tec­tor for your card to pre­vent ac­ci­den­tal spills or un­ex­pect­ed rains from ru­in­ing the doc­u­ment. Plas­tic pro­tec­tors are avail­able for as lit­tle as $8 in POS. Pick up an ex­tra one for your lo­cal im­mu­ni­sa­tion card too… just in case some­one gets a lit­tle too lit while you’re out in the safe zones.

*I reached out to the Min­istry of Health for clar­i­fi­ca­tion on what some­one should do if their im­mu­ni­sa­tion card is miss­ing in­for­ma­tion and if the lo­ca­tion where they were vac­ci­nat­ed is now closed. The ar­ti­cle will be up­dat­ed once that in­for­ma­tion is pro­vid­ed.

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