South Africa plans to introduce a vaccine passport, but there are still many hurdles to overcome before this is implemented, this is according to the Department of Tourism.
Director-General of Tourism, Nkhumeleni Victor Tharage, said in a briefing on Tuesday that the most important issue as it relates to vaccine passports is a lack of uniformity with regards to standardisation.
Says Tharage: ‘Even in some jurisdictions that have opted to apply this [passport], there isn’t yet a sense of uniformity. When we don’t have a single, standardised specimen, it is a little bit difficult to say which one is which.
‘If South Africa introduces [a passport], and there is access to information from the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) that confirms that a person has been vaccinated, the question is if that person arrives Lagos (sic), what resources will they use to verify this information that is stored on a database in South Africa?’
South Africa is faced with the same challenges when it comes to verifying tourists, says Tharage.
Discrimination is another concern and the government is wary of introducing vaccine passports that discriminate against certain groups of people.
‘When we reopen, and when everyone is starting to travel, it should not be discriminatory. And that principle has been reiterated time and time again’, said Tharage.
The question of whether this will be a requirement in order to attend public events, is also a key concern.
Says Tharage: ‘At the end of the day, it’s about being able to get the necessary confidence from consumers, tourists and trade. If we don’t do that, then there will be a negative impact on our recovery.’