By Kaya 959 Reporter
Speculation is rife over whether South Africa will join other countries in issuing vaccine passports.
Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla announced last week that there are plans in place to introduce a digital vaccination certificate to confirm that a person has been vaccinated.
“We have made sure that the certificate is protected from fraud and can be uploaded on your smartphone and is printable.
“This initiative is in line with the WHO initiated vaccination certificate attempting to standardise vaccination proof in the world,” he said.
But what is a vaccination passport?
According to Professor Mosa Moshabela, UKZN acting deputy vice-chancellor of Research and Innovation in the College of Health Sciences, a vaccination passport is an electronic vaccine certificate with a QR or quick response code that can be scanned.
Speaking to the Daily News, he said once an electronic certificate is created, these can then be used as a vaccine passport, similar to a boarding pass, that allows you passage or entrance into restricted areas.
“So essentially, vaccine certificates would mean certified proof of vaccination, and passport means the proof is used to enter restricted areas,” he said.
Good news for travel industry
As more countries are opening up to fully-vaccinated travellers, including South Africans, travel experts believe the respective regulations and requirements are murky at best.
They said it can feel like picking away through a minefield of differing advice, red tape and admin.
Corporate Traveller GM Oz Desai said the much-awaited announcement is fantastic news for the South African travel and tourism industry.
He said it will help facilitate travel for all vaccinated South Africans and help cut through the red tape and admin when travelling.
“Covid passports are likely to be non-negotiable in a post-Covid 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,” Desai said