Vaccination passport for South Africa is a bad idea — economist

Using a vaccine passport to restrict people’s access to public places in South Africa is a bad idea, says Efficient Group chief economist Dawie Roodt.

Roodt told Mail & Guardian that individuals should be able to decide whether they want to get vaccinated and that South Africa cannot afford another barrier to trade.

“The moment you put a requirement on somebody to do or not to do something then there will be costs with that,” he said.

“It will be in the form of people standing in a queue to get the passport … it will also be in the form of people refusing to get the passport.”

“[Unvaccinated people may] simply refuse to go buy something at the shop, reducing the turnover of the shop,” he said.

He suggested that the South African government should rather educate the population on the benefits of getting vaccinated than force individuals to do so.

Roodt’s comments follow President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement on Sunday that the government would provide further information on the introduction of a vaccine passport in the coming weeks.

MyBroadband had previously received confirmation from Nicholas Crisp, acting director-general for the Department of Health, that government was developing a digital vaccine passport that it expects to launch soon.

The passports can be used as proof of vaccination for various occasions and events.

Ramaphosa emphasised the benefits of vaccination during his national address, where he also announced that South Africa would relax its lockdown restrictions to an adjusted Alert Level 2.

“We know that a vaccinated person can still be infected and can still pass on the virus to others,” he said.

“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.”

“Most importantly, people who are vaccinated against Covid-19 are far less likely to die of the disease.”

Following extensive job losses in the tourism and hospitality industry, industry associations say that a vaccine passport will accelerate their recovery.

National chairperson of the Federated Hospitality Association, Rosemary Anderson, told Mail & Guardian that she supports the implementation of a digital vaccination certificate.

“We believe that vaccine passports will provide much-needed standardisation for our inbound international guests and for South African travellers travelling abroad,” she said.

“We also support vaccination in our sector and are hence fully behind participating in a vaccine passport that is internationally recognised.”

However, News24 reported that the ACDP will stand against any form of restrictions placed on the unvaccinated, with leader Kenneth Meshoe comparing mandatory vaccinations to “apartheid”.

Kallie Kriel, executive head of AfriForum, said that the civil rights organisation had fought to ensure the availability of the vaccine but will oppose any measures by the government to force vaccinations.

According to an IOL report, South Africans opposing the implementation of vaccination passports are calling for nationwide protests.

A Twitter user shared several posters encouraging those opposing the introduction of vaccination certificates to gather and protest on 18 September.

Now Read: Adjusted Level 2 lockdown rules for South Africa — what you can and can’t do

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Vaccination passport for South Africa is a bad idea — economist