Wednesday, 06 October 2021

Pretoria: The Department of Health has confirmed that its currently testing South Africa’s digital COVID-19 vaccine certificate to “troubleshoot” all possible glitches ahead of the official launch.

This comes after the South African COVID-19 Vaccine Certificate System portal went live on Tuesday.

The system will allow users to create a QR code showing their COVID-19 inoculation status and will be available to adults who are fully vaccinated.

However, the department explained that the system is not officially functional in a live environment, which will enable vaccinated individuals to access and download certificates.

“We had to build a lot of security into the system to protect individuals’ personal data as much as possible.”

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced last week that the department will soon roll out the vaccine certificate as proof that residents have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

The digital pass system could be used to show vaccination status to facilitate travel, access to establishments, gatherings and other forms of activity.

“Our approach is informed by the World Health Organisation guidelines and is in line with international best practice,” the President explained.

“Streamlining and standardising proof of vaccination will also go a long way towards getting a number of international travel restrictions both from and into our country eased,” he added.

According to the department, the development and release of fully-fledged COVID-19 vaccination certificates will be phased in over time.

“We request members of the public to exercise patience while we implement the final refinement as we prepare to make official the first version of the COVID-19 vaccination digital certificate.”

However, the department said it was aware that a few “lucky” people were able to access the system and download their passports.