South Africa is in the process of updating its vaccine certificate for fully vaccinated adults. On October 8, 2021, the National Department of Health officially launched its vaccine certificates. These certificates allow individuals to travel, attend events, gatherings and partake in other activities.
What is the purpose of the vaccine certificate?
The e-certificate will enable users to view their immunization via a QR code. The purpose of the vaccine certificate is to prove that residents have been immunized against Covid-19. Furthermore, obtaining a vaccine certificate will assist in travel restrictions from and into the country.
These vaccine certificates will assist in remaining up to date with local and international standards.
Is there any difference between the older version and the newer version?
The key difference between the old vaccine certificate and the newer version is the QR code. These QR codes can be scanned and additionally have a digital signatures.
The newer version of the Covid-19 vaccine does not include an expiry date. The Department of Health will also be linking the vaccine passport to a mobile application. This will be ready to use at the end of November 2021.
What will you need?
Before you start you will need the following:
- The ID document you presented to get vaccinated. This could be your RSA ID, foreign passport or Asylum/ Refugee number.
- Vaccination code sent to your post vaccination
- The cellphone number you registered with.
Once you have all the above information you can apply for your vaccination certificate on https://vaccine.certificate.health.gov.za/
If you have lost your vaccination code sent via SMS you can phone the COVID-19 Public Hotline at 0800 029 999. The advisor will resend the vaccination code to you.
What to do if your details are incorrect?
It’s vital to double check your details before having it captured. If your details were incorrectly captured or if there is some missing information then contact the Covid-19 hotline. They will assist in rectifying the information with the emended details.
COVID-19 contact number: 0800 029 999
Can you use the COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate for international travel?
Before traveling to any country make certain to have a look at their policies. Most countries accept digital vaccine certificates. If they do not, then it’s best to enquire with the embassy or your travel agent.
If a country does accept the digital certificate they will ask you to present your certificate along with your passport. The ID number from your vaccination certificate will be the same as the ID on your passport.
How are vaccination certificates verified?
The QR code, which is on the certificate is not human readable. The certificate can only be verified by travel authorities and third parties who will be able to scan the QR code. These authorities will be able to verify the authenticity of the vaccination certificate.
Why is the manufacturer not published on the certificate?
Many people get a bit worried when they see that the manufacturer of the vaccine they took isn’t presented on the certificate.
Instead, the name of the vaccine is presented on the certificate and not the manufacturer. For example, if you took the Pfizer vaccine then Comirnaty will be presented. Pfizer is the manufacture of the Comirnity vaccine. Likewise, if you took the Johnson and Johnson vaccine then Jansen will be presented on the certificate.
How to receive a vaccination certificate
Firstly, you will need to visit https://vaccine.certificate.health.gov.za/. Secondly, you will be asked to fill in your details. Once your details have been filled in you will be asked for an OTP. The OTP will be sent to the same cell phone number that you registered with.
After entering the OTP you will be redirected to another page that will allow you to download the certificate. The vaccination certificate will be available to download in a PDF form.
The vaccination certificate will most likely play a pivotal part in the future. It most certainly will become a compulsory document to obtain when traveling. It should be noted that most countries are only accepting tourists who are fully vaccinated. Having this document will ensure that people can once again travel freely.
The great part of the newer version of the digital certificate is that it has no expiry date. It will always be up to date and meet the requirements of local and international standards. If there are any versions that come out at a later stage the Department of Health will advise those who are vaccinated.