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Zimbabwe finally launches a more secure COVID vaccination passport

COVID-19 Passport, covid certificates results Trusted Travel, Africa CDC

A couple of weeks ago I railed at the fact that Zimbabweans were being issued COVID-19 vaccination passports with a handwritten card whenever they took up the government’s vaccination offer. Well, it seems the government has finally delivered on their promise to make more secure verified computerised COVID-19 vaccination cards/passports.

According to state-owned ZBC, the government recently launched the card/passport which comes with improved security features and most importantly its authenticity can easily be verified from anywhere in the world. If you remember, this was one of my biggest gripes with the handwritten card. There was no easy way to establish whether what was written was a forgery or not.

When we started vaccinated people we noted that counterfeit cards were being produced in the community hence we came up with this card. What enables this card to be uploaded onto our electronic platform which you can verify across all ports worldwide is the embedded security card.

We were guided by the WHO smart vaccination card guidelines of which we are part of the technical working group so it is world standard and is recognisable worldwide.

Director of Health Infomatics and Data Analytics at Mistiry of Health Dr Simukai Zizhou

According to the government, the cards are already being issued at various centres. Those who already hold handwritten cards can go to their vaccination centres and get a replacement. It’s not clear whether everyone qualifies for replacement at the moment or only those who want to travel are eligible. In any case, the hope is that eventually all those handwritten cards will be replaced by the new cards at some point.

Despite being the rear end of many jokes when it comes to the economy and other things Zimbabwe’s response to COVID-19 has been exemplary in many regards. Even developed countries were forced to mention how well the government led vaccination program was proceeding. So far over 3 million people have been vaccinated and more join those ranks on a daily basis.

Security features on the card

The card comes with a QR code that can be scanned to verify the authenticity of the card. Unfortunately according to some reports, there is quite a lag time between when you are issued the card and when the QR code starts working. The issuing centre submits the details to the national vaccination database and that seems to take a while so cards cannot be instantly verified after they are issued. Once the details have been logged into the database verification can be done.

In addition to this the card comes with the following features:

  • A court of arms which glows when held to light
  • Flouriscent numbering
  • It’s made out of watermakred security paper
  • There is Macro Text underground i.e there is faint text beneath the main text
  • It has guilliche patterns i.e. intricate and elaborate patterns
  • Again the QR code is verifiable


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13 thoughts on “Zimbabwe finally launches a more secure COVID vaccination passport

    1. As already covered this card is different. I do have a handwritten card myself it doesn’t have a QR code or any security feature. It does however have a the coat of arms on it

      1. So don’t say it’s not handwritten just say it has better security features. The thing about lag time on QR codes I think it’s because all the data is put on a hardcopy then they they will use that info to update the electronic platform which I think is centralised so it takes time for one to be on that electronic platform. I was given that very certificate and all my details were handwritten on the certificate and in the vaccination register

      2. But on being handwritten it’s not different, it’s like you are saying all the information is printed on the 2nd generation while the 1st gen certificate has your info handwritten

  1. Did you research on when Zim introduced the card with QR code? They came out a few months back hence the heading of the article can be somehow misleading. It’s as if this was introduced yesterday

  2. The heading is somewhat clickbait because these cards came out a few months back. I was vaccinated August and i received this card and my QR CODE Verification is not working yet. This is a challenge for us who travels a lot to and fro Zimbabwe. They should work on reducing the lag time for the QR Code

    1. The heading is not misleading. Very few people were receiving these cards and as you mentioned the QR codes were not working. Now they are phasing out all the paper cards and the QR codes are now functional.

      1. Garikai your headline is misleading! You make it sound like Govt has come up with a new initiative when it’s just a case of phasing out another set of cards and replacing them with another set with better features. I was vaccinated in July and those “new’ cards were being handed out to everyone there. I understand you want as many clicks as possible but resist the urge to use misleading headlines for sensitive topics like Covid-19.

  3. I have plans to travel once borders open i went to my local clinic where i was vaccinated to request the new vaccine passport and i was told its only given to those who produce airtickects and the QR Code is not functioning and might not be functioning anytime soon coz there is no once capturing those details into computerised systems

  4. I have the vaccination card with no QR Code and it has been a nightmare for me to use when crossing borders…do not leave Zim without the one with QR Code.I am actually planning to fly back to Zim in two weeks specifically for that new vac card.That card has done so much disservice to me,in some country i just say i am unvaccinated and it spares me a lot of trouble trying to understand why my card is handwritten and with no QR Code.

  5. Other guys are saying that their QR codes are working perfectly fine, so let’s wait for November for the Hilicker passport that will be enrolled very soon it will have all the information we need hopefully

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