Zimbabwe will start issuing Covid-19 certificates to people who have received their second dose as a way to verify who has been vaccinated.
The certificate will come in the form of an electronic card with security features and a quick response (QR) barcode which can be scanned for verification. It will be linked to the person’s passport and national identity document.
Director of health informatics and data analytics in the ministry of health and childcare, Dr. Simukai Zizhou, said the electronic card will combat the sale of counterfeit certificates that are already circulating in the country.
“We have finalised the electronic cards. We previously issued them to a small group of people and are now certain the electronic cards work. The cards have security features that can be scanned and verified.
“The electronic card will contain data related to the vaccination including the date administered, type of vaccine, and place of vaccination.”
“The electronic cards will also be used when people travel in and out of the country and will also help to combat the sale of counterfeit certificates. People who have taken their second dose can approach the ministry of health and childcare to be issued with the cards. The electronic cards are locally developed and we will start issuing them this week,” said Zizhou.
Zimbabwe has been facing public resistance towards vaccination, with a low vaccine uptake from the population. The country has authorised the emergency use of four Covid-19 vaccines, including China’s Sinovac and Sinopharm, Russia’s Sputnik V, and India’s Covaxin.
The Covid-19 certificate comes a few weeks after Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa said the country might consider mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations and those who refuse risked losing out on employment opportunities and social services like public transport.
The country is currently in the second phase of the national vaccine programme that includes people above 60 years of age, those with underlying conditions, teachers, hospitality industry staff, and other front-line workers who have not been vaccinated.
Zimbabwe’s ministry of health and childcare plans to vaccinate 10 million people or about two-thirds of the population. To date, only 68 511 people have vaccinated.