The Department of Health hopes to have the first phase of the digital vaccine passport system implemented by the end of the week.
DURBAN – The Department of Health hopes to have the first phase of the digital Covid-19 vaccine passport system implemented by the end of the week.
Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla made the announcement during the launch of the mobile Covid-19 vaccine site at uMlazi township’s Umlazi Plaza as part of the Vooma Vaccination Weekend.
Phaahla said the pandemic had accelerated plans by the department, as it headed towards a universal health-care system, to have a more digitised patient system.
“We will keep improving the system to verify that it captures the correct details for every person that has visited a vaccination site.”
The passport could be used to verify being vaccinated and allow access to sports facilities and music events, he said.
Phaahla added that the government was opting to engage the public about the Covid-19 vaccine instead of enforcing laws for spreading false information about the vaccine.
The Health Department said the 18-34 age group had not brought in the numbers they had initially hoped for in the vaccine roll-out programme, while the over 60s had challenges such as lack of transportation to reach vaccine sites.
Phaahla said only 13 million people had been fully vaccinated and the country needed more. The government wants to have 70% of the adult population vaccinated by the end of the year.
He said while the initial uptake of Covid-19 vaccines had been good, a lot of misinformation had led people to become scared.
“Covid-19 forced us to revisit and improve our digital health platforms. The pandemic enabled us to have one health registration system through EVDS to merge both the public and private health system. We still have to discuss how post the pandemic the system could be utilised. It could be converted to an e-health file system, to have a proper medical history verification process through just scanning an ID number,” said Phaahla.