South Africa’s Health Minister says COVID-19 vaccination certificate is not a discrimination tool

Kenya may opt for the Oxford-AstraZeneca Plc COVID-19 vaccine./Getty Images

South Africa’s health Minister, Dr. Joe Phaahla has said the planned COVID-19 vaccine certificates will not be used to deny unvaccinated citizens access to public services.

“I want to emphasize that this certificate will not prevent people from accessing essential services, especially public services. You will not be required to show a certificate to get to the clinic. I have heard claims that we want to deny people services.” Dr. Phaahla said on Friday during the department of health’s weekly briefing on the COVID-19 pandemic and the country’s vaccination rollout programme.

“That is not going to happen. What this is meant for, is to say that you can open up more economic and recreational activities.” The Minister added.

Phaahla announced that an implementation plan for the vaccination certificates will be presented to the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) within the next 10 days.

The certificate will be accessible through a smartphone but those who do not own a smartphone will be able to receive a printed version of the certificate at their vaccination site.

Phaahla reported that at least 220,450 COVID-19 vaccines were administered on Thursday, with the total number of vaccines administered reaching 15.6 million since the rollout began.

At least 7.7 million people living in the country are now fully vaccinated.

Although the total vaccinations account for only 28% of the country’s adult population, Phaahla still believes that reaching 70% by the festive season is a possibility.

“We still have a long way to go. Slowly but surely we’re getting there. We still need 16 to 17 million more people to come forward and if that happens, we will have a very good Christmas.” Dr. Phaahla said.

The minister also said that continued adherence to COVID-19 regulations would see a relaxation of restrictions.

“We will be reporting to the NCCC in the next two weeks and if there continues to be good progress, we will get even more relaxations.”

(With input from SA Gov News)