Nowadays, a COVID-19 vaccine certificate will get your farther than any official personal identity document and the Department of Health has begun the process of rolling this proof of vaccination policy in South Africa.
What is a vaccine certificate?
President Cyril Ramaphosa, in his most recent ‘family meeting’ address, warned that in the near future, access to large capacity events and social venues like restaurants, gyms, and stadiums would be reserved to people who’ve received the jab.
On Friday 8 October, Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla announced that millions of South Africans who’ve completed their vaccination process could now claim a valid vaccine certificate.
This virtual document is recognised as certified proof of vaccination. It informs establishments that’ve enforced the policy of one’s vaccination status.
If you’ve received the two-dose Pfizer, or the single-jab Johnson & Johnson, then the Department of Health would have sent you a unique vaccination code via SMS.
The vaccine certificate is the digitised version of that code, a key access pass that grants you privileges not enjoyed by anti-vaxxers.
What you need to do to obtain one in South Africa
To obtain a valid vaccine certificate, you need to:
- have received your prescribed dose/s of a vaccine product recognised by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA);
- a unique vaccination code issued by the Department of Health; and
- a valid South African ID or passport number.
Vaxxed citizens with the above-listed items must visit the vaccine certificate portal and:
- select the preferred ID type;
- enter ID number, vaccine code, first and last name
If no issues are encountered, the following prompts should lead you to your certificate. However, recently, the department has noted a ‘network error’ that loads after people submit the above-mentioned particulars.
.@HealthZA is experiencing a high volume of people trying to access and download their digital #COVID19 vaccination certificates. This is affecting the network and responsiveness of the system #VaccineCertificate . Call 0800 029 999 for assistance— Department of Health (@HealthZA) October 8, 2021
Vaccine certificate: Here’s how it works
South Africa is catching up to the rest of the world with its recent implementation of the certificate. This virtual document is now an accompaniment of official identifiers like your drivers’ license and personal ID or passport.
While it remains unclear, at this stage, how restaurants and other social venues will implement this policy, one can easily presume that the entry process now in place — temperature checks, declaration forms, etc. — may not apply to holders of a valid vaccine certificate.
“Amongst others, we expect the sports and recreation to open up more for vaccinated people, shops to provide discounts and others to give prizes. I’ve already seen one of the banks advertising some prizes for people when they get vaccinated. Entertainment to start opening up, music festivals… these are some of the opportunities that people that are vaccinated will be able to access,” Dr Phaahla revealed.
The Health Department noted that this is the first version of the certificate. More design and use updates will be made in due course.