SA to launch COVID-19 digital vaccine certificate this week

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South Africa will this week unveil the much-anticipated COVID-19 digital vaccine certificate, which will be used as proof of vaccination to allow individuals access to establishments, as well as facilitate travel.

The portal will allow users to create a QR code showing their COVID-19 vaccination status.

The national Department of Health says the portal, from which the certificates will be downloaded, is in the testing phase, troubleshooting for glitches, ahead of the launch on Friday.

Less than a month ago, president Cyril Ramaphosa revealed the health department is considering a variety of mechanisms to be used as proof of vaccination, including “electronic vaccine passports” that can be accessed using a smartphone.

He said: "We will also be providing further information on an approach to vaccine passports, which can be used as evidence of vaccination for various purposes and events.”

The system is not yet officially functional in a live environment, but once available, it will enable vaccinated members of the public 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. The development and release of fully-fledged COVID-19 vaccination certificates will be phased-in over time,” says the health department in a statement.

“Thus, we request members of the public to exercise patience while we implement the final refinement as we prepare to officially launch the first version of the COVID-19 vaccination digital certificate. However, we are aware that a few lucky individuals managed to access the system and download their vaccination certificates.”

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