On Sunday, President Cyril Ramaphosa mentioned that the government will be providing further information on its approach to ‘vaccine passports’. He says these vaccine passports can be used as evidence of vaccination for various purposes and events.
The topic of vaccine passports has sparked debate in South Africa and around the world. While the decision to get vaccinated against Covid-19 remains a personal choice, vaccine passports could limit a persons ability to move freely.
Last month, Discovery financial firm announced that they would require all their staff to be vaccinated. Limpopo Health MEC Phophi Ramathuba said that the government is engaging with the liquor industry around having proof of vaccination in order to purchase alcohol.
Lucky Ntimane from the Liquor Association says that government should engage with individuals who are hesitant about getting the vaccine.
He said, “when you are going to use almost like a negative approach to try and get people to vaccinate by instilling fear that if they are not vaccinated they will not be able to achieve certain things we feel that the best approach is really to talk to people that you know are hesitant to vaccinate show them the positive reasons behind why it's important for them”.
Cosatu National Spokesperson, Sizwe Pamla says the idea of vaccine passports is reckless. He said, “we understand the frustration coming from government we are all frustrated we would like to see more people vaccinating but we just feel that government is not focusing on what needs to be done, we're all supposed to be politically together to encourage people to vaccinate rather than really to focus on punishing [people]”.
More than 14.6 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines have been administered in South Africa. Around 7 million of these people are fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
President Ramaphosa said “If many people are not vaccinated and remain vulnerable to infection, the chance of new and more dangerous variants emerging is far greater. That is why vaccines are currently the most potent weapon we have to fight this pandemic”.
We will have to wait for the president to provide further information on South Africa’s approch to vaccine passports.