By Dr Sheri Fanaroff MBBCh FCFP MFamMed, a Family Physician, practicing in Melrose, Johannesburg. Fanaroff is a member of GGPC (Gauteng General Practitioners Collaboration) which has created a platform for doctors to share resources during Covid-19. Look for #voicesthatcare on the GGPC Facebook page. Remember to #VaxWithUs
Jabbed and ready to face the world! Call it what you like: the Vaccine Passport, Vaccine Certificate, Covid Passport or even Covid Certificate (is it really an accolade?), there seems to be so much urgency and enthusiasm in getting yours now. Perhaps because this could be the window to a normal life again and, for many, this could finally mean a well deserved vacay abroad.
Common questions regarding the Vaccine Certificate
HOW DO I DOWNLOAD MY VACCINE PASSPORT?
- Go to this website to download your vaccine certificate: HTTPS://vaccine.certificate.health.gov.za
- In order to access your certificate, you need your name, ID number, Passport number or Asylum seeker number that you registered with, and the vaccination code.
- Click on the link above to access your certificate. A one-time pin will then be sent to your cellphone. Enter the OTP and then the certificate can be downloaded as a PDF and either used on your phone or printed.
I DON’T HAVE A VACCINE NUMBER WRITTEN ON MY CARD AND HAVE DELETED MY SMS, HOW DO I GET IT?
- You may automatically receive an sms again this week with the details, as new messages with vaccine codes are being sent out with a link to the website where you can download your certificate.
- Call the COVID-19 Hotline on 0800 029 999 and give them your ID number or passport that you registered with and they should be able to give it to you. You can also contact the WhatsApp support line on 0600 123 456.
I HAVE LOST MY PHYSICAL CARD, WHAT CAN I DO?
- You need to visit the vaccination centre where you received the vaccine.
- You will need to speak to the site manager.
- They should be able to retrieve your details from the EVDS system and issue you with a new vaccine card.
- If you had two doses of a vaccine (Pfizer), it is best to go to the site where your 2nd vaccine was administered.
I NEVER RECEIVED AN SMS AFTER I HAD MY VACCINE – WHAT CAN I DO?
- This could either be because your vaccination was not captured in the EVDS system at the time, or because your cell number was captured incorrectly, or because of network issues.
- See number 1 above and call the Covid-19 hotline on 0800 029 999 if you still haven’t received an SMS. They should be able to provide the vaccination number telephonically if you can give them your cellphone number and the ID or passport number that you registered with.
- People who had two doses of Pfizer can use EITHER the first or the second number received to enter on the system and download the card – BOTH of these numbers should link your ID/ passport to the EVDS system.
- If the hotline cannot find your details, you will need to visit the site where the vaccine was administered.
WHY DOES MY CARD HAVE AN EXPIRY DATE?
- If you downloaded your card in the first few days (before 9th October), it probably has an expiry date for January 2022.
- The new version available has already removed the expiry date.
- You can download a new certificate (without an expiry date) by visiting the website above.
- As new versions of the card with better security features become available, you will be able to download updated versions.
** The Department of Health will publicise when new versions of the certificate become available for download as extra security features such as digital (cryptographic) signatures become available**
NB: The expiry date does NOT indicate that a booster is required by that date – it simply means that the certificate needs to be updated.
I’VE ONLY HAD ONE DOSE OF PFIZER, CAN I DOWNLOAD A CERTIFICATE?
- You can only download a vaccine certificate once you have been fully vaccinated.
- Thus, you can download a certificate once you have had ONE dose of J&J or TWO doses of Pfizer.
I CAN’T READ THE QR CODE ON MY CERTIFICATE?
- The QR code generated is not intended to be readable by the public.
- It is meant to be used by entities requiring to verify the card’s validity, using a Vaccine Certificate System inbuilt QR scanner, which will be available in the near future. This will be able to ensure the validity and authenticity of the certificate.
THERE IS AN ERROR ON MY CARD eg I HAD A J&J VACCINE, BUT IT IS INCORRECTLY RECORDED ON MY CARD AND ON THE SYSTEM AS A PFIZER – WHAT SHOULD I DO?
- This is a problem as the EVDS system then won’t record you as being fully vaccinated, and you won’t be able to download your certificate.
- You can call the hotline number for advice, however they probably cannot fix this telephonically.
- You should send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org . There is a team who are correcting these problems; however it takes a few days as they need affidavits to correct the record for audit purposes. They will contact the centre where the vaccine was administered, who will need to provide affidavits stating the correct information.
- Alternatively, take your card to the site where the vaccine was administered and they might be able to correct it.
MY CARD DOESN’T HAVE THE CORRECT VACCINE NAME ON IT?
- The vaccine certificate records the name of the vaccine, rather than the more commonly used names of the manufacturers.
- This has caused some confusion.
- Pfizer = Cominarty
- J&J = Janssen
MY VACCINE HAS NOT BEEN REGISTERED AT All, WHAT DO I DO?
- Call the Helpline who may be able to help with your EVDS number (0800029999).
- Visit the original site where you received your vaccine with your vaccination card so that they can input your vaccine information on the system.
I RECEIVED MY VACCINES OVERSEAS, CAN I DOWNLOAD A SOUTH AFRICAN VACCINATION CERTIFICATE?
- No, only vaccines administered in South Africa are recorded in the EVDS system.
- You will need to get a certificate from the country where you had your vaccine.
- If you had one dose overseas and one dose here, you will need to carry certification from both countries.
WHAT DO I NEED FOR INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL?
- The UK has this week taken South Africa off the red list and have announced that they will recognise the South African digital vaccination certificates.
- Each country will have its own unique requirements regarding testing, vaccine passports and quarantine. You will need to find out the current policy of each place when you plan your trip.
- It is possible that both the physical card and the electronic certificate will be required.
- Your passport includes your ID number, and this can be checked against the number on your vaccine certificate. You will need to have both your international passport (to verify your identity) and your vaccination certificate.