With more countries opening up for vaccinated South African travellers, a standardised digital vaccine passport is vital.
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. The certificate would be available through a person’s smartphone, and could then also be printed out.
Oz Desai, the general manager of Corporate Traveller, says the announcement is fantastic for the South African travel and tourism industry as it will help facilitate travel for all vaccinated South Africans.
“It will help cut through the red tape and admin when travelling. However, while these passes give the holder the government-issued right to travel across borders, there are still restrictions in place based on both your country of departure and destination.
“For example, the EU vaccine passport has been issued to over 27 member nations, allowing seamless travel between EU countries. Although this is perfect for member states, what happens when someone from a country outside the EU tries to enter?” he says.
Desai says that the implementation and issue of Covid-19 passports is a “complicated process” that is leaving it “open to abuse and misuse” as well as “criticism and scepticism” from the people within the industry.
Vaccine passport details
“A vaccine passport must meet the benchmarks for Covid-19 immunity, be internationally standardised, verifiable and 100% secure in terms of personal data,” he says.
He says it should also be affordable, portable and meet legal and ethical standards.
“Covid-19 passports are likely to be non-negotiable in a post-Covid-19 world. Exactly how the world goes about it, is still up in the air. Regardless of this, the news that South Africans will soon have access to a digital health certificate is good news all around.”