Government to introduce new digital COVID-19 certificate

Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla says despite South Africa not having gone the route of issuing vaccination passports, the country has commenced with the development of a digital vaccination certificate to confirm that a person has been vaccinated.

“We are aware of the debate around vaccination passports, which is required by some countries for international travel. In our country, we haven’t gone that route.

We only require a less than 72 hours old PCR COVID-19 test for people leaving or entering South Africa,” Phaahla said

The Minister briefed the media on Friday on progress regarding government’s efforts in the fight against COVID-19 and the national vaccination rollout programme.

Phaahla said government has made sure that this certificate will be protected from fraud and will be uploaded on people’s smartphones and can be printed.

“This initiative is in line with the World Health Organisation (WHO) initiated vaccination certificate. Through this, WHO is attempting to standardise vaccination proof all over the world so that it cannot be defrauded,” the Minister said.

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He said this vaccination certificate should be available to those who are vaccinated in just over a week.

Phaahla clarified that the certificate will be made available for those recently vaccinated and those vaccinated several months ago, as long as their personal information is reflected in the Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS).

He emphasised that government has no intention to require people in future to produce these certificates to access public services.

“The certificates may be useful for access to entertainment, sports and other events but definitely not essential and public services,” Phaahla said.