Covid-19 weekly round-up: What we know about SA’s potential vaccine passports
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COVID-19 vaccine passports, or proof of vaccination, could soon be implemented in South Africa, said President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday evening.
Further information on how these “vaccine passports” will be used is set to be revealed in the coming weeks.
The documentation could be used as evidence of vaccination, for various purposes and events.
A “vaccine passport” is a certification of either vaccination status or immunity following a natural infection, that confirms you no longer pose a risk to others.
Last week, during a media briefing, Health Minister Joe Phaahla said the digital vaccination certificates are in line with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) initiative.
He said the WHO is attempting to standardise vaccination proof all over the world.
The certificate would probably be used for certain services in the future, but the government has no intention of making the certificate a requirement for accessing public services.
Meanwhile, a growing opposition to a vaccine passport has erupted on Twitter, with many South Africans calling it a violation of civil liberties.
President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Sunday evening that South Africa would move to adjusted alert level 2 from Monday.
He said that, while the third wave is not yet over, the country has seen a decline of 29% in infections over this past week.
The Ministerial Advisory Committee on Covid-19 recommended an easing of restrictions on the movement of people and gatherings.
− The hours of curfew are from 11pm until 4am.
− Restaurants, bars and fitness centres can close at 10pm.
− All gatherings, including religious services and political events, will be limited to a maximum of 250 people indoors and 500 people outdoors.
- The sale of alcohol will be permitted between 10am and 6pm, from Monday to Friday.
The President said these measures will be reviewed in two weeks' time.
While some countries around the world have started with Covid-19 booster shots, South African leading vaccinologist Professor Shabir Madhi says it is absolutely unnecessary.
Madhi says that the primary goal of vaccinations is not about preventing infection, but to prevent deaths, and this can be achieved without booster shots.
Countries, including Israel, France, and Germany, have already started rolling out third doses, while the United Kingdom and the United States plan to follow suit in September.
The World Health Organization had previously called for a pause on Covid-19 vaccine booster shots, until the end of September.
Co-investigator of the Sisonke research study Professor Glenda Gray confirmed last week that talks were under way with Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and the Department of Health, about running a Covid-19 vaccine booster trial in the country.
Madhi said if South Africa does decide on booster shots, people will end up needing to boost every six to 12 months, which is not feasible.
Keep an eye out next week for another round up of the top Covid-19 stories.