Passport to life…Just live it


Having a vaccination passport is nothing new.
For years South Africans have had to get yellow fever, hepatitis A or cholera jabs, depending on the destination.

The little yellow card that slips into your passport fulfils the role of a visa and grants travellers’ access to countries where potential disease threats are present.

A Covid vaccination passport will be no different, but its scope of utility may be wider than that of any other jab certification.

“Covid-19 is a highly infectious disease,” says Medicare 24’s chief executive Mike van Wyk, “and even when you have been vaccinated, it’s still possible to contract the disease, albeit a likely weaker version.”

This means a collective of vaccinated persons at an event, travelling or any kind of gathering will be less likely to send one another to an early grave.

“A vaccine passport is a crucial instrument to manage a return to some form of normality while exercising control over the spread and severity of the disease.”

The UK last month removed SA from its red list, allowing ease of movement and quarantine for fully vaccinated persons.

The United Arab Emirates has allowed jabbed South Africans since August and the US will open for travel under the same prerequisite this month.

But it’s not only the ability to travel across our borders that will be managed through vaccine passports or certificates of evidence.

Vaccinated people have been allowed to return to sports grounds to watch sports events.

“A vaccine passport is a crucial instrument to manage a return to some form of normality while exercising control over the spread and severity of the disease.”

Mike van Wyk, Medicare 24’s chief executive

Van Wyk says society will incrementally open up in between future waves of infections and the use of certified vaccination documentation will become the norm rather than the exception.

“Eventually, going to the movies will require vax-proof, attending a wedding or a funeral will ask the same and even shopping malls may consider stricter entry conditions as the vaccine programme rolls out,” he says.

“And it’s not draconian, it is to protect us from ourselves.”
Getting off the red list of some of SA’s key tourism partners came just in time for the December inbound season, too.

Sean Bradley, chief business development officer of global travel group Travelwings, says: “Vaccinations are the only way for the SA tourism industry to recover from the Covid spiral.

“The maths is simple. Vaccinated and sanitised environments are the only way to bring back tourists – local and foreign.”

Bradley speculated that the African tourism industry may lose as much as $250 billion in revenues due to the pandemic.

In anticipation of reopening, the government’s online digital vaccination certificate portal will soon exit its beta phase.

“There has been a lot of naysayer resistance to a vaccination passport,” says Van Wyk, “and it is bizarre considering that travel clinics have immunised millions of travellers for other infectious diseases for decades.

“It may end up where unvaccinated individuals will be in a permanent state of lockdown.”