All your questions about the COVID-19 Vaccine Certificate answered

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

The Department of Health has started issuing out the country's COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate to fully vaccinated adults.

This is after the South African COVID-19 Vaccine Certificate System portal was officially launched by the Health Minister, Dr Joe Phaahla, on Friday, 9 October 2021. 

The system will allow users to create a QR code showing their COVID-19 inoculation status and will be available to adults who are fully vaccinated.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced in September the rollout of the vaccine certificate as proof that residents have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

The digital pass system can be used to show vaccination status to facilitate travel, access to establishments, gatherings and other forms of activity.

The President explained that government's approach was informed by the World Health Organisation guidelines and that it was in line with international best practice and said he believes that it could go a long way towards getting a number of international travel restrictions both from and into our country eased. 

Phaahla told journalists last week that the certificate could be used for travel and tourism, sport and recreation events, music festivals, shops that are providing discounts and prizes for people who are vaccinated.

In addition, the Minister said there is still going to be more improvements in the next two months with regards to the safety and security of the certificate. 

The department has since answered some of the citizens' frequently asked questions. 

1. Why does my COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate have an expiry date?

The COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate available from 8 October 2021 does not include an expiry date. Only those that were issued during the testing phase have an expiry date.  

2. Why are there new versions of the COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate?

Additional features such as a scannable QR code and digital (cryptographic) signatures will be gradually phased in. The Department of Health will advise on the availability of newer versions of the COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate as they become available.

3. When will the new versions of the COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate become available?

The next version of the digital COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate will be ready towards the end of October 2021. The COVID-19 Vaccine Passport linked to a mobile application will be ready towards the end of November 2021.

4. The COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate website asks for an ID or passport number. Are foreign passports, asylum-seeking and refugee numbers accepted?

Yes, if it is the same number from the ID document you used when you registered on the Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS) portal and at the vaccination site.

5. What should I do if I lost the EVDS vaccination code that was sent via SMS?

You can phone the COVID-19 Public Hotline at 0800 029 999. The agent will be able to provide you with the vaccination code or resend you the SMS with the required code.

6. I did not receive my COVID-19 vaccination code via SMS. Why did this happen?

There are three possible reasons:

  • The SMS did not reach you due to mobile network issues at the time.
  • Your mobile number is not correct on EVDS.
  • Your vaccination record was not captured on the EVDS at the time of vaccination. However, you can verify this by calling the COVID-19 Public Hotline at 0800 029 999. If the agent cannot confirm your vaccination record on the EVDS, you should contact the site where you were vaccinated to capture your record on the system.


7. Can I use the COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate for international travel?

Most countries should accept digital certificates. However, it depends on the policy of the country you are visiting and verification requirements. You should present this certificate along with your passport. Your RSA ID number is printed in your South African passport to allow for verification of the ID number.

8. My personal details are not correct on the COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate

It is your responsibility or the person registering you on your behalf to ensure that your information is captured correctly when registering for vaccination. This information should be verified and can further be corrected at the vaccination site before the vaccine is administered.

You can call the COVID-19 public hotline at 0800 029 999 where an agent will be able to correct your details or send an email with the details to be changed to One of the agents will contact you.

9. The QR code on the COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate does not work

The content of the QR code on the current version of the COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate is not human readable. Travel authorities and third parties to verify the validity and authenticity of the COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate can scan the QR code on the next version of the certificate.

10. What is Jansen and Comirnaty?

The name of the vaccine and not the manufacturer is published on the COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate. Johnson and Johnson is the manufacturer of the Janssen vaccine, while Pfizer is the manufacturer of the Comirnaty vaccine. –

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