With the State Government making two-dose vaccination mandatory for entry into malls and cinemas in Bengaluru, the State’s Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) has now recommended a universal vaccine pass for fully inoculated citizens.
The committee that deliberated on surveillance measures, especially in the wake of growing concern over Omicron, at its 140th meeting held on December 15, has said the system of universal pass for fully vaccinated citizens should initially be introduced in BBMP limits and then extended in a phased manner across the State.
“The universal pass can be used for entry into offices, factories, banks, cinemas and auditoria, shopping malls and complexes, airports, gyms, pubs and bars, swimming pools, hotels and restaurants, wedding halls, zoos, parks and even places of worship,” said a TAC member.
According to the TAC’s report, the Government of Maharashtra has introduced the universal pass for fully vaccinated citizens. “This pass is useful for entry into offices, malls, cinemas, airports, etc. This can be obtained online through https://epassmsdma.mahait.org by typing in the registered cell phone number given while taking the vaccination. An OTP is sent to the registered number and on entering the OTP, the pass-cum-certificate with the beneficiary’s photo can be obtained and printed,” the report stated.
“TAC recommends introducing a similar facility in Karnataka, to begin with in the BBMP area and then extending it in a phased manner across the State,” the report said.
Sources in the TAC said the online universal pass facility can be linked to CoWIN for double verification. As the pass will also have the photo of the beneficiary, it will be easier for the security staff to verify and check the vaccination status, sources said.
On December 3, after India’s first two cases of Omicron were detected in Karnataka and also in the wake of several COVID clusters emerging, the State Government had announced certain preventive measures, including compulsory two-dose vaccination for entering malls, cinemas and for parents of school/college going students.
TAC member V. Ravi, who is also the head of the State’s Genomic Surveillance Committee, said the universal e-pass would help in better monitoring of vaccination status of people at the entry points. “Although the CoWIN certificate is the proof of vaccination, sometimes it is difficult for the staff at the entry points to check and verify every certificate,” he said.
Entry into places of worship
In the context of Omicron and New Year celebrations, the TAC has advised that only double dose vaccinated people should be allowed to enter places of worship. “Only 50% occupancy should be permitted in temples, mosques, and churches and not more than 200 persons should be allowed in closed areas with adequate social distance. Devotees should not make any offering at the places of worship and should not stay for more than 20 minutes inside closed spaces. There should not be any special services or ceremonies at the places of worship during this period,” stated the report of TAC’s 140th meeting held on December 15.