The World Health Organization introduces digital COVID-19 vaccination certificates

On 30 September 2021, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the Department of Health will soon be rolling out a vaccination certificate, which will serve as verifiable proof of vaccination.

4 Oct 2021 1 min read Employment Law Article

At a glance

  • South Africa will soon introduce a vaccination certificate, endorsed by the Department of Health, to serve as verifiable proof of vaccination.
  • The certificate will facilitate travel, access to establishments, gatherings, and other activities requiring proof of vaccination.
  • The certificate will follow the World Health Organization's guidelines, including a core data set, fraud prevention mechanisms, and various scenarios of use. It will help employers verify vaccination status and prevent dishonesty.

The certificate can be used to facilitate travel, access to establishments, gatherings and other forms of activity that require proof of vaccination.

South Africa's approach will be guided by the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines, which are in line with international best practice.

The WHO published a "Digital Documentation of COVID-19 Certificates: Vaccination Status Technical Specifications and Implications Guidance" document. According to the WHO, the certificate may be paper based or electronic. The WHO has encouraged countries to design a certificate that includes a core data set, fraud prevention mechanisms and scenarios of use.

The core date set includes: name, date of birth, sex and unique IDs; vaccine brand; and country of vaccination.

Fraud prevention mechanisms include security features such as water marks and holographic seals.

Scenarios of use could include proof of vaccination for work, university education and international travel.

The certificate will be of great use to employers. It will act as proof of vaccination and will allow employers to verify the authenticity of certificates and prevent dishonesty. 

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