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South Africa is getting a Covid-19 vaccine ‘ID system’ – how it will work

The South African government is in the process of developing an electronic vaccination data system (EVDS) to assist with the roll-out of Covid-19 vaccines across the country.

The system aims to assist in both the management and surveillance of the Covid-19 vaccine. Among other features, the EVDS will provide and track vaccine information, such as:

  • Patient information, including demographics and number of doses;
  • Safety information – such as possible adverse events following immunisation;
  • Details of vaccine administration sites.

As part of this monitoring system, there are plans to send reminders for a follow-up appointment to receive a second dose and to include an integrated track-and-trace system for defaulters – those who do not show up to receive their second shot.

A dashboard system is also being developed to capture the reasons given for vaccine refusal.

As part of this process, the Department of Health has said that all South Africans who are vaccinated will be placed on a national register and provided with a vaccination card.

Vaccine passports

A form of identification and proof of a vaccine is likely to become increasingly important in the coming months and years, especially for South Africans looking to travel overseas.

Major business groups, including Oracle and Microsoft, have already identified this as an issue and set up the Vaccination Credential Initiative (VCI) which is working to enable individuals vaccinated for Covid-19 to access their vaccination records in a secure, verifiable and privacy-preserving way.

VCI’ plans to give individuals the ability to obtain an encrypted digital copy of their immunization credentials to store in a digital wallet of their choice.

Those without smartphones could receive paper printed with QR codes containing verifiable credentials.

“As the world begins to recover from the pandemic, having electronic access to vaccination, testing, and other medical records will be vital to resuming travel and more,” said Mike Sicilia, executive vice president of Oracle’s Global Business Units.

“This process needs to be as easy as online banking. We are committed to working collectively with the technology and medical communities, as well as global governments, to ensure people will have secure access to this information where and when they need it.”

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