SA May Introduce Vaccine Passports In Early 2022

COVID-19 Vaccines. Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich from Pexels

South Africa could introduce a new COVID-19 vaccine passport system at the start of 2022 after the discovery of a new variant.

Business Day reports that South Africa’s exclusion from international travel brought further urgency to debates about mandatory vaccination.

Talks between the government, business and labour on the introduction of a form of Covid-19 vaccine passport system are at an advanced stage.

A passport system would restrict access to certain events and would not involve people being forced to take jabs against their will. The word “mandate” implies compulsion, but in the SA context, it is roughly equivalent to a passport system.

South Africa recorded 4 373 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, of which 3 143 were reported in Gauteng alone.

According to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), this means there is now a total number of 2 968 052 laboratory-confirmed cases.

Meanwhile, data shows that the latest infections represent an increased 10.2% positivity rate.

According to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research’s Ridhwaan Suliman, the seven-day average is up 311% week-on-week.

“Expect a large increase tomorrow [on Wednesday] post-weekend effect,” he warned.

There are currently 2 414 patients who are currently receiving COVID-19 treatment in hospitals across the country, with 119 admitted overnight.

In addition, 21 more people lost their battle to the disease.

The information is based on the 19 477 054 tests, of which 42 664 were conducted in the past 24 hours.

The NICD said it continues to monitor developments around the newly emerged Omicron variant.

“The number of new COVID-19 cases and the percent positivity continue to increase, likely due to the spread of the Omicron variant,” said the NICD Acting Executive Director, Professor Adrian Puren.

He said scientists are still trying to establish if this new variant has increased the ability to spread and/or developed ways to escape some of our immune responses.

He added, however, that the severity of Omicron is yet to be determined and urges citizens to be cautious and reconsider attending events that may become super spreader events, such as indoor gatherings in poorly ventilated spaces or large gatherings.

NICD’s Head of the Division of Public Health Surveillance and Response, Dr Michelle Groome, agreed that responsible actions and adherence to non-pharmaceutical interventions are key to limiting the impact of a fourth wave.

“COVID-19 vaccination remains key, and anyone over the age of 12-years who chooses to vaccinate is encouraged to follow through and join those who have already rolled up their sleeves.”

In addition, she has urged anyone who experiences COVID-like symptoms to self-quarantine and monitors their signs for at least 10-days.

“During the 10 days, you should avoid contact with others, continue to wear your mask and wash your hands often. Should any worrisome symptoms present, we recommend contacting your healthcare provider for assistance.”

Meanwhile, the Department of Health, said it administered 175 395 vaccine shots on Tuesday, pushing the total to 25 619 891.

In addition, the country is now home to 14 475 754 or 36.1% of fully vaccinated adults, while 477 131 children have received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. –


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