South Africa Health Facts

All you have to know when visiting or moving to South Africa

South Africa Health Facts | ExpatCapeTown | Last updated 19 July 2021

Are you looking for reliable South Africa Health Facts? Then you should check out our travel health info here. 

Moving to South Africa during the Cov-19 Pandemic | Living in South Africa

South Africa is under Lockdown Adjusted Level 3 - current regulations in place since 26 July 2021. Read more here

south africa covid regulations: adjusted level 3 regulations from 26 July 2021

Moving during Covid pandemic means you need to get a valid certificate of the negative PCR test result before travel to South Africa. The certificate must be recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO). You are fine if you get a emailed version of the certificate, best to print it out to show to the check-in staff at the airport as well as to the health and immigration officers at arrival in South Africa. The certificate must be obtained less than 72 hours before the flight. This guideline is strictly enforced. Rapid antigen test is not accepted. Full vaccination instead of PCT test is not accepted yet neither. Read latest gazetted regulations here.

Covid-19 vaccinations will be available for all living in South Africa at various vaccination centres. Vaccination registration is open for all older than 35 years. For this you must register on the Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS) with your passport or South African ID Number and wait for the registration sms that will be sent to you as a confirmation. Some vaccination centres might offer walk-in registrations and vaccinations. After registration on the system you will get another notification sms once your vaccination date has been set. Register here. From 1 September all above 18 years will be able to get vaccinated, walk-ins will be allowed.

The vaccine currently available is Pfizer (Cominarty) and there is Johnson & Johnson, which is given to health staff, teachers, police force and other essential public servants. Other vaccines are under discussion for the future. The two doses of the Pfizer vaccine will be given here 42 days apart. You will get a vaccination card and sms confirmation code after vaccination, that should suffice for any travels.

Go down this page for more info regarding PCR tests and test centres or click here.

Our South Africa Health Facts will provide some insights on how to protect your health when traveling to South Africa or living in Cape Town.

In South Africa you should take special precautions regarding your health. HIV/Aids are widespread, the risk to contract Hepatitis or Tuberculosis when working in townships or rural areas is prevalent and rabies and typhoid are present in rural areas. There are precautions to take, and for most of the more common diseases you can get vaccinations before your travels. Contact your health care provider or a travel health clinic before you move here or get help here at a local travel clinic. Make sure your immunisation record is up to date or get refresher vaccinations - especially for DTP and MMR.

South Africa Health Facts

Seasonal Influenza is present during the winter months in South Africa as in many other places around the world. There is evidence that not only small children and older or frail people are more at risk, but also teenagers and pregnant women. So if you belong to a high-risk group you should consider the relevant vaccinations. Vaccinations can be received at local pharmacies or at your general practitioner (GP).

However you need to plan in certain time for the vaccinations to work. Here is a standard vaccination schedule (discuss this with your health care practitioner!)

  • Diphtheria, Tetanus, Polio (DTP): 3 doses over 12 months
  • Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR): Check with your doctor re: mainly childhood diseases
  • Hepatitis A and B: 3 doses over 6-18 months
  • Tuberculosis (TB): BCG one shot, preferrably at least 6 weeks before travel
  • Yellow Fever: The vaccination has to be taken 7-10 days before travels to an infected area. Read here which areas in Africa are affected.
  • Typhoid: one shot at least two weeks before travel, highly recommended if working/living in rural areas, then booster every two years afterwards
  • Meningitis: There are various types of vaccines available, best to enquire with your travel clinic
  • Malaria: tablets for protection you need to take a prophylaxis if you travel into certain regions in South Africa, not in the Western Cape or Cape Town. Prophylaxis usually needs to be taken before travel into the malaria regions in South Africa and at least one week after travels. 

To get your vaccination status updated, visit any travel health clinic or enquire with your general practitioner (GP) for advice. You will find more comprehensive immunisation information here.

Cape Town Travel Health Clinics | South Africa Health Facts 

When already in Cape Town, make sure to have your vaccination card/booklet with you when making an appointment with a local doctor or nurse. These are travel clinics recommended by expats in Cape Town:

  • Netcare Travel Clinic in Cape Town CBD: Picbel Parade in 58 Strand Street. Tel: 021 419 3172
  • Medicross Tokai: Corner Tokai and Keyser Road. Tel: 021 715 7063
  • Meditravel Cape Town Waterfront: Clocktower Building at the V&A Waterfront. Tel: 021 4191888

Cape Town PCR test centres | PCR test centres for travellers 

PCR tests are done at various test centres across town. Depending on the severity of the wave, PCR tests for travellers will only be given on appointment (after getting a referral from your GP), after booking on the laboratory test center's website or at specific travel centres. These are test centres were recommended by expats in Cape Town:

Some airlines might request additional antigen tests, these can also be obtained at test centres named above as well as at the test centre located at the airport. Please always check for current info. - This is only a compilation - effective on 19 July 2021

Be informed and check your South Africa Health Facts and Information thoroughly. Stay safe and keep well!  

Image Source: own graphic/Canva

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