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Govt to launch digital vaccination certificate – Joe Phaahla

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Govt to launch digital vaccination certificate – Joe Phaahla

Image of South African Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla
Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla

10th September 2021

By: Thabi Madiba
Creamer Media Senior Research Assistant and Reporter

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The Department of Health (DoH) has announced the development of a digital vaccination certificate, which will show proof of vaccination.

Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla said this initiative is in line with the World Health Organisation- (WHO-) initiated vaccination certificate, which the WHO is using in an attempt to standardise vaccination proof across the world.

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Phaahla said that in the coming weeks the certificate should be available to all those who are vaccinated. He emphasised that the certificate will not be required to access public services.

The DoH said it has ensured that the certificate is protected from fraud adding that it can be uploaded on a smartphone and is also printable.

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“Once the certificate is available, it will be available even for those of us who were vaccinated a few days ago, a few weeks ago or a few months ago, as long as your particulars are reflected on the EVDS [Electronic Vaccination Data System]. You will be able to obtain the certificate,” Phaahla explained.

He said this digital feature may be useful for government in terms of accessing various services but “again I must add that we have no intention as government to require people in future to produce this certificate to access public services.”

He added that the certificate may also be useful for access for some entertainment and sporting venues and other events but said it was definitely not going to be used to access essential services and public services.

As of Thursday, 6 270 new Covid-19 cases were identified in the country, with a further 175 Covid-19-related deaths reported, bringing the total number of fatalities to 84 327 to date.

More than 14-million vaccines have been administered in the country.

The DoH has activated the self-booking feature on the EVDS, where individuals can select a date, time and vaccination site of their choice when registering on the EVDS website.

He added that, unfortunately, the system does not allow individuals to choose which vaccine to take at this stage. South Africa is rolling out the Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

He assured citizens that while they are not able to choose for themselves, both vaccines are safe and effective. “So you do not have to worry,” he assured.

Meanwhile, he said government is aware of the debate around a vaccination passport which is required by some counties for international travel, confirming that South Africa is not enforcing one at this stage.

South Africa only requires a less than 72 hour PCR Covid-19 test for people either leaving or entering the country.

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