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