The South African government’s relentless drive in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic has seen the official launch of the country’s very own digital vaccination certificate.
During a media briefing, Minister of Health, Dr Joe Phaahla indicated the certificate to be a tool that can be used by people who have been vaccinated to not only access activities such as sport and recreation events; entertainment events; and travel and tourism, but also further open the country’s ailing economy.
“Our role is really to make this tool available to the nation so that we can provide people with proof of vaccination. This is so that they can have access to many amenities and activities which many of us have been missing.”
This comes on the back of a tally indicating more than 18 million South Africans having already taken at least one jab of vaccines available in the country as of Thursday, October 7.
Phaahla further said the certificate should hold credence of international standards, especially following a decision by the United Kingdom government to remove South Africa from the red list on Thursday evening.
“We call on all South Africans and other nationals in our country to come forward and be vaccinated. We now have a window of opportunity to protect ourselves ahead of an expected fourth wave (of infections) later this year.
Amidst early challenges experienced by the COVID-19 vaccination certificate portal, the health department spokesperson, Foster Mohale has made an appeal for patience as the system was overwhelmed by the positive response received from the South African public.
“Over 300,000 certificates have been downloaded over a period of an hour since the system went live earlier this morning. Therefore, this is affecting the network and we call upon all members of the public to exercise patience during this period,” Mohale said.
Department officials gave a live demonstration earlier on Friday on how people should navigate the portal.
A passport linked to a cellphone app will also be available at the end of November, this year.