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South Africa’s digital COVID vaccine certificate points way for Nigeria

Nigeria can follow the path of South Africa in launching a centralised digital COVID vaccine certificate in order for the United Kingdom to recognise vaccines administered in the country.

South Africa which is also missing from the list of countries that the UK approved by the UK Government has immediately begun actions to join the list of the UK’s vaccine accepted countries.

South Africa’s department of health has asked the public to be patient as it prepares to officially launch the first version of the COVID-19 vaccination digital certificate later this week.

On Tuesday, various media reported that the digital certificate website went live, without an official announcement from the Department of Health.

Last week, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the Department of Health would roll out vaccine certificates that could be used as proof of vaccination for those wishing to travel or access certain establishments.

Read also: Lack of central database puts Nigeria on UK’s vaccine blacklist

Departmental spokesperson Foster Mohale said the government is currently at the testing phase of the system to troubleshoot all possible glitches ahead of the official launch later this week.

He explained that the system is not officially live for vaccinated members of the public to access and download their certificates.

However, he said the department is aware that a few individuals have successfully managed to access the system and downloaded their vaccination certificates.

Mohale added that a lot of security has been built into the system to protect individuals’ personal data.

“The development and release of fully-fledged COVID-19 vaccination certificates will be phased in overtime. Thus, we request members of the public to exercise patience while we implement the final refinement as we prepare to officially launch the first version of the Covid-19 vaccination digital certificate,” he said

Tayo Ojuri, managing partner, Aglow Aviation Support Services Limited said the approach taken by South Africa is commendable and Nigeria can do same as the country needs a single source of authenticated database.

The Federal Government has said Nigeria is not among red-listed countries, whose citizens require mandatory quarantine for 14 days in a supervised UK facility.

However, Faisal Shuaib, executive director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), said Nigeria’s status has not changed. “This is similar to our requirement to have travellers from the UK isolate for seven days upon arrival in Nigeria,” he said.

Shuaib noted that the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 (PSC) is in the process of reviewing requirements and is in touch with the UK Government.

“The UK Government is yet to comprehensively review Nigeria’s vaccination certification programme. From my communication with UK officials, the UK Government approves the vaccines administered in Nigeria. They are also involved with the vaccination programme in Nigeria through the Foreign, Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO) and they are optimistic that by the time Nigeria’s COVID-19 vaccination programme certification is assessed, it will be approved.”

“There are many countries in the world. So, we, like many other countries, are in the queue for this assessment. Once it gets to our turn, we are, more likely than not, to get approved in the coming weeks. As the UK Government has clearly stated, the process of assessment would occur in phases,” he said.


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