Safeguarding Societal Well-being Locally and Globally: Crucial Role of the COVID-19 Immunization Tracker and Smart Vaccination Certificate Issuance in Sri Lanka

Safeguarding societal well-being locally and globally: The crucial role of the COVID-19 Immunization Tracker and Smart Vaccination Certificate issuance in Sri Lanka.

Gobica Piriyananth1, Palitha Karunapema1, Priyanga Senanayaka1, Pamod Amarakoon2, Pramil Liyanage3, Arnold S.M4, Buddhika Ariyaratne1 , Shakira Irfaan5, Dimal D.A1., Wedika Karunarathne5

1 Health Information Unit, Ministry of Health, Sri Lanka

2 Health Information Systems Programme (HISP) Sri Lanka

3 Ministry of Health, Sri Lanka

4 Public Health Services1, Ministry of Health, Sri Lanka

5 Postgraduate Institute of Medicine, University of Colombo


Commencing in early 2021, Sri Lanka’s COVID-19 vaccination initiative, in alignment with global efforts, prioritized high-risk individuals, later extending the coverage to those aged 12 and above. The pivotal role in developing and implementing the COVID-19 Immunization Tracker (CIT) and Smart Vaccination Certificate (SVC) issuance was assumed by the Health Information Unit of the Ministry of Health, supported by the World Health Organization and the Additional Secretary of Public Health Services. This aims to record individual vaccinations, analyze comprehensive vaccination coverage, and issue SVC.

Case study:

CIT was configured based on the District Health Information Software2 (DHIS2) and was rapidly implemented across the Island. Development was in-house due to the availability of local expertise in DHIS2. Identification of focal points, effective online training, efficient user support, and illustrative user guides bolstered rapid implementation. Data was captured via the tracker capture App. Comprehensive dashboards were prepared for different levels, based on which timely decisions were made to optimize coverage. CIT also used to issue the SVC, which was based on Digital Infrastructure for Verifiable Open Credentialing (DIVOC), hence certificates could be verified internationally. SVC is issued on request, when a need arises for individuals to travel abroad, as it is a mandatory requirement by certain countries to mitigate cross-border transmission.


As of January 2024, CIT has registered 19,147,151 individuals, administering 34,764,423 vaccine doses, with 15,575,253 first doses. Achieving approximately 81% COVID-19 vaccination coverage for 1st dose in Sri Lanka, CIT played a crucial role in decision-making to increase the coverage during the pandemic by displaying vital information on the dashboard. Official endorsement of CIT for issuance of SVC by the Ministry of Health marked a significant milestone. This has led to the issuance of 1,067,964 Smart Vaccination Certificates (SVCs) till January 2024, supporting global health security.

Lessons learnt:

The rapid CIT implementation during the vaccination initiative was vital, supported by local development expertise, DHIS2 familiarity among end users, online training, efficient user support, illustrative guides, and trilingual videos. Timely decisions based on CIT data were crucial in expanding coverage and curbing infection spread. Despite travel restrictions, SVC issuance ensured safe travel, playing a pivotal role in global health security during the pandemic peak.

Keywords: DHIS2 tracker, COVID-19 Immunization, CIT, SVC, Vaccination Certificate