South African immigration officials are rejecting Zimbabwean travellers’ COVID-19 vaccination cards saying they are fake.
This is because the cards fail quick response (QR) code scans as the barcodes have not been activated, making them useless.
A COVID-19 vaccination QR code is a type of barcode that carries the holders’ personal details including when they took the vaccine and where.
Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (VISET) executive director Samuel Wadzai said some of their members have faced challenges with their vaccination cards at the borders.
The permanent secretary in the Ministry of Health and Childcare, Jasper Chimedza, confirmed that the COVID-19 certificates had inactivated QR barcodes. He said:
Due to the threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to urgently roll out the COVID-19 vaccination programme, the latest COVID-19 vaccination certificates were issued with pre-printed QR codes that are blank and required to be activated by loading electronic data on them.
However, given that the number of people who have received at least the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to date is now exceeding five million, we are currently reserving this functionality to individuals travelling out of the country while plans are being made to open this up to the greater public.
The Health and Child Care ministry, for the convenience of the public, has begun the process of decentralising the activation process for travellers and will be releasing updated lists of activation points countrywide on a regular basis.
Last week the Government announced plans to decentralise the activation of QR codes on COVID-19 vaccination cards.