I visited Germany in the last week of October 2021 on a business trip with BMW and managed to convert my South African issued vaccination card into an EU Digital Covid Certificate. I’ve subsequently loaded it on the CovPass app and have it in a digital format, which is accepted in Europe for entry into restaurants, hotels, airports, touring, etc. Further to that, I found a way to load it onto Apple Wallet.

Germany was one of the first EU countries to offer a digital Covid pass, and it can be obtained at a pharmacy, at no cost. The EU Gateway used to verify the vaccine certificates falls in line with the EU’s privacy laws (GDPR), thus your data does not get stored anywhere, nor can it be passed on to third party companies.

Important to note, doing this and using the CovPass app is completely voluntary. It will also give you access to other European countries that currently do not recognise South African vaccine cards (eg: Norway). If you’re a traveller and looking for convenience, read on.

Here are the steps to do it:

STEP 1: Visit any pharmacy in Germany with your South African issued vaccine card and passport. I used my physical vaccine card for this.

STEP 2: Ask if they can convert it to the EU Digital Covid Certificate. I was turned down by the pharmacy at Munich Airport, but had luck in the city. It’s a bit of a hit and miss on which pharmacies do it for foreign nationals or German citizens only.

STEP 3: They will ask you to fill a little bit of info on a form that you sign, and then they reference your passport and vaccine card using the info on it (Pfizer shots x2 and codes for each shot). It is recorded on their system.

STEP 4: The result is a print out of two pages – one for each Pfizer shot – or accepted shot(s) with a matching QR Code per shot. It took about five minutes in total and it is free. Keep the print out safely as it only issued once.

STEP 5: The forms suggest which apps you can download to load it digitally. You simply scan each QR Code into it. I used CovPass – https://www.digitaler-impfnachweis-app.de/en/

I then used it in and around Germany and Austria, and kept my SA issued one at my hotel.

BONUS: How to load your newly converted South Africa-to-EU-digital-vaccine-card onto Apple Wallet. I used this link and was successful after a few fails: https://covidpass.marvinsextro.de/

I know I’m stating the obvious, but at the time of publishing (8 Nov 2021), you can only load your EU vaccine card onto Apple Wallet via the link shared above; not your South African one. Maybe someone at Discovery Health reading this can make a plan for South Africans.

Hope this helps on your EU travels.

PS I used my physical vaccine card for this, I didn’t ask about our govt issued digital ones; and I know for certain it works for the Pfizer shots. I cannot answer anything beyond my experience. Also keep in mind that rules chop and change at any moment, dictated by waves in each country.