South Africans could soon be required to produce proof of COVID-19 vaccination to gain access to public spaces.
President Cyril Ramaphosa made the remark during his address to the nation on Sunday night.
While around 14.6 million South Africans have received the jab, the president said the country’s COVID-19 recovery was being held ransom by a low vaccination take-up.
President Ramaphosa used his address to the nation to once again allay fears around the COVID-19 vaccine.
Ramaphosa revealed more than a quarter of South Africa’s adult population has received at least one dose, and over seven million people are fully vaccinated.
“South Africa is fast becoming a vaccination site. We are now administering a million doses every 4 to 5 days. However, we need to do much more.”
Using data from the Western Cape Department of Health, the president said many people were not vaccinated and remained vulnerable to severe illness, while the risk of new and more dangerous variants emerging was far greater.
“But what we are seeing is that very few people who are vaccinated against COVID-19 are becoming severely ill with the disease, and very few are ending up in ICU or needing ventilation. People who are vaccinated against COVID-19 are far less likely to die of the disease.”
Ramaphosa also announced that plans to introduce COVID-19 “vaccine passports” will come into effect soon.
“The Department of Health is looking at a variety of mechanisms they have in other countries to either do it electronically, through a cellphone, which can be used as evidence of vaccination for various purposes and events.”
The president admitted to the hardships faced by some industries gripped by restrictions but remained optimistic following the vaccination of the bulk of the country’s population.