Although the country’s vaccination drive seems to be on track, travelling abroad could remain a nightmare for vaccinated South Africans. While travel bans for South Africans in the UK remain in place, travelling to other EU countries may also be a problem.
Some travellers have been advised that their manual cards indicating that they have received their vaccines, may not be permissible in some EU countries.
Vaccinated or not, South Africans may still have to undergo a 14-day quarantine period if they travel to some EU countries. Some holidaymakers have been advised by their travel agents that the manual card, which indicates that a person has been fully vaccinated might not be valid when travelling through border control in some EU countries. But an electronic vaccination certificate with a QR-code would be required. Traveller, Frank Ferro, explains.
“I just had my double dose Pfizer Vaccine and it is presented on a manual card which I’m told they don’t want it. And that they work on a QR system. We asked the department of health to facilitate. It’s very difficult…we know that even the QR codes are being fraudulently manipulated. People are selling these coded documents and to put in a whole lot of effort into making some certification for other sovereign countries is at this stage not necessarily the best use of our resources.”
Ferro says it’s not easy at all as he does not know what to expect on the other side. Travel bodies say they are lobbying government for a digital format. Flight Centre’s, Bianca Mazur, elaborates.
“The concern we have now is that the QR-code is not linked with the EVDS system.”
Meanwhile, the Health Department says the challenge is that there is no global standardized requirement.
Health Deputy Director-General, Nicholas Crisp says, “It not that we are unable to, it’s not policy to issue, if we choose to do that as a policy we will use the technology available to do.”
Crisp says they will continue to work with other countries to try to reach a common ground.
Discussion on UK travel bans from South Africa: