Thandeka Moyo-Ndlovu, Health Reporter
ZIMBABWE has started issuing a specialised electronic Covid-19 vaccination card with security features that shall be used for traveling purposes outside the country.
Members of the public who get vaccinated against Covid-19 will get the physical card that has a barcode for electronic use in case they decide to travel outside the country and prove that they have been vaccinated.
The electronic component will contain details on when the vaccine was administered, type of vaccine and place of vaccination.
Besides the code which can be scanned for verification of details contained in the physical card, the new card has an invisible coat of arms, watermarked security paper, micro text underground, among other features.
The card will be uploaded into an application linking it to an electronic record.
Therefore, the card works for local settings and the electronic component will ensure that when one travels outside Zimbabwe, it will provide proof that one was vaccinated.
Some countries are mulling using such cards as a passport to access concerts, sports arenas among others.
So far, 529 360 people have received their Covid-19 first dose while 161 293 received their second dose in Zimbabwe.
As of Monday, Zimbabwe had 38 433 confirmed cases, including 36 208 recoveries and 1 576 deaths.
The Ministry of Health and Child Care has already ordered nine million new cards and distribution of the cards started last week.
The new card is expected to bring an end to counterfeit cards which were being circulated to sabotage Government’s effort to achieve herd immunity.
In an interview yesterday, the director of Health Informatics and Data Analytics in the Health Ministry, Dr Simukai Zizhou said the cards are being printed locally at Fidelity Printers and Refiners hence there is no likelihood that they may run out like the old ones which were used since the beginning of the vaccination program.
He said the specialised vaccine card will also be recognised in other countries after the country gets permission to join the World Health Organisation Trust forum.
He said the Ministry has ordered nine million cards and the company is printing 200 000 daily to meet the Government target.
Dr Zizhou said the cards are already in circulation as the Ministry is currently distributing them to all health centre countrywide.
“We have started issuing specialised Covid-19 cards to members of the public who get vaccinated against the deadly pandemic. These cards have security features and have a code which will link the physical card and the electronic record for use during travel. Those cards have been in use since last week,” said Dr Zizhou.
He also said the Ministry is working on getting into the World Health Organisation Trust forum which will enable card users to be able to scan barcodes to prove they have been vaccinated whenever they travel.
“Since the cards are being printed locally, we have started distributing them to different centres around the country and we are sure that soon we will have the nine million cards we ordered as they are printing 200 000 card daily,” he added.
Dr Zizhou said those who are already vaccinated and have old cards can approach different centres where they got inoculated from and request for the new card.
Ministry of Health Deputy Minister Dr John Mangwiro recently said the Covid-19 vaccination remains voluntary although members of the public are urged to partake as a means of saving lives.
He said that soon those who do not get vaccinated may find themselves unable to travel outside Zimbabwe if other countries decide that passports should be accompanied by proof of vaccination as a Covid-19 control measure.
Dr Mangwiro said for those coming into Zimbabwe, only a Covid-19 certificate proving that one is negative is required but soon travelers may need to prove that they have been vaccinated against the deadly pandemic. [email protected]