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South Africa has launched a digital COVID-19 vaccine certificate. Can it be used for International travel? Why does it have an expiry date? What to do if you don’t know your vaccination code? Here’s all you need to know!


Johannesburg, South Africa (07 October 2021) – The Department of Health has confirmed that it is currently testing South Africa’s digital COVID-19 vaccine certificate to “troubleshoot” all possible glitches before 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.

The site will be fully functional on the 8th of October when it is officially launched.

“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 would 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.

A Q&A is being shared on social media and WhatsApp which gives loads of information with regards to the vaccination certificates.

We have listed some of the questions and answers below:

If you’ve managed to download a COVID-19 vaccine certificate before launch, is the card valid?

Yes, but not indefinitely. It will eventually be replaced with an updated version with more security measures

Why is there a note on the certificate saying they’re only valid until January 2022?

Because the cards will be replaced with updated versions (before the end of the year) so that they remain up-to-date with international standards. You’ll have to download a new version at a later stage.

Why will there be new versions of the digital COVID-19 vaccine certificate?

Because security measures, such as QR codes and digital (cryptographic) signatures, will be gradually phased in. Each new version will be more secure than the previous version.

When will the new versions of the digital COVID-19 vaccine certificate become available?

The second version (a digital vaccine certificate): Likely end of October.

The third version (a digital vaccine passport): Likely end of November.

The digital vaccine website asks for an ID or passport number. Are foreign passport numbers, asylum-seeking numbers and refugee numbers accepted?

Yes, as long as it’s the same ID you used when you registered on the #EVDS, because the info on the card is linked to the info on the EVDS.

What is the vaccination code the site asks you to enter?

It’s the sms with a code that you received after your vaccination(s). You only need to enter one of the codes (if you got two shots).

What should you do if you lost the vaccination codes you were sent via sms?

You can phone the #COVID19 helpline on 0800029999, they will be able to retrieve the codes from the #EVDS and give it to you over the phone.

Can you use the digital COVID-19 vaccine certificate that will be launched on Friday for international travel?

Yes, most countries should accept these, but it depends on the policy of the country. You need to present the card along with your passport.

Sources: SA News 
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Brent Lindeque is the founder and editor in charge at Good Things Guy.

Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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