Citizen Reporter
2 minute read
29 Sep 2021
4:20 pm

Vaccine passports could be rolled out in SA from next week

Citizen Reporter

President Cyril Ramaphosa previously hinted at vaccination passports, which was met with heavy criticism and backlash.

Picture: iStock

South Africa is on the verge of getting vaccine passports, which citizens may be required to present before entering certain events and venues.

Vaccine passports

Mandatory vaccination

When President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that South Africa would move to level 2 lockdown on 12 September, he also confirmed the Department of Health was looking into vaccine passports.

Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla also previously said government was discussing compulsory Covid-19 vaccination for adults across the country.

ALSO READ: Ouch! Anti-vaxxers might be forced to get Covid-19 vaccine

Phaahla said mandatory vaccinations would likely be aimed at workplaces, restaurants, cinemas and gyms, however, no decision had been taken on the matter.

Some citizen have argued that forcing people to show proof of vaccination was a rights violation, which has raised questions about whether vaccine passports would lead to discrimination against the unvaccinated.

According to Business Insider, government’s science advisors have signed off on restricting access to some venues to those are not vaccinated from November.

Domestic use

Bhekisisa editor-in-chief Mia Malan said during an interview with Peter Ndoro that vaccine passports could be rolled out next Tuesday.

“If all goes well, [the Department of Health] is going to make digital vaccine cards available on the 5th of October and you will be able to download it from a web portal. If you access that web portal on a smartphone you will be able to keep that card on your phone,” she said.

Malan said the digital vaccine cards would initially be focused on domestic use, however, that did not mean the cards could not be used for international travel.

She said this would depend on the rules of the country a person is traveling to.

READ MORE: Vaccine passports: The pros and cons of a digital Covid-19 record

She said the cards would have a QR code, which will contain one’s vaccination information when scanned and be linked to your ID number.

Commenting on the possibility of mandatory vaccinations, Malan said the majority of South Africa’s population would need to be vaccinated first before this was implemented by government.

“It’s important to note that in South Africa we can’t [force vaccinations] yet. That’s why Discovery and Sanlam say [their mandatory vaccination policy] will be implemented in January because if you haven’t given everyone a reasonable chance to be vaccinated you can’t start with rule like that. You need to make sure that the rule you implemented is within the context of access… a fair one,” she said.

To date, just over 17 million vaccines have now been administered in the country.