A Swiss Border Guard processes a French citizen at the Franco-Swiss border at the Jougne Customs office, in Vallorbe. South Africa doesn’t currently require vaccine passports for travellers coming into the country. File picture: Laurent Gillieron/Keystone via AP
A Swiss Border Guard processes a French citizen at the Franco-Swiss border at the Jougne Customs office, in Vallorbe. South Africa doesn’t currently require vaccine passports for travellers coming into the country. File picture: Laurent Gillieron/Keystone via AP

SA to introduce digital vaccine certificates as early as next week - health minister

By Rudolph Nkgadima Time of article published Sep 10, 2021

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Cape Town – Health Minister Joe Phaahla says South Africans who are vaccinated against Covid-19 will probably be issued with digital vaccination certificates in about a week’s time.

Phaahla said on Friday the certificate would be available through a person’s smartphone, and can then also be printed out.

He said the digital vaccination certificates had been developed with fraud protection and other security measures and would be aligned with international standards.

“This initiative is in line with the World Health Organization-initiated vaccination certificate. Through this, the WHO is attempting to standardise vaccination proof all over the world,” he said.

South Africa doesn’t currently require vaccine passports for travellers coming into the country. Only PCR test results not older than 72 hours are required.

Phaahla said the certificate would probably be used for certain services in the future, but the government had no intention of making the certificate a requirement for accessing public services.

According to the WHO, the digital Covid-19 certificates were proposed as a mechanism by which a person’s Covid-19-related health data could be digitally documented via an electronic certificate.

The certificate can be used in the same way as a paper-based vaccination record/card. That is to provide information to health-care providers about the vaccination status of individuals, providing a basis for health workers to offer a subsequent dose and/or appropriate health services as appropriate.

In some instances, vaccination cards are also used to facilitate international travel, for example in the case of yellow fever, where a vaccination certificate may be required by some countries as a condition of entry.

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