South Africa

General public eager to register for Covid-19 vaccine told to hold off until system is ready

Cape Town - The general public eager to line up and register for their Covid-19 vaccines have been told to hold off from registering on the national Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS) while phase 1 is under way.

This was highlighted by Western Cape Health Department head Dr Keith Cloete, who was discussing the vaccine campaign within the province on Wednesday.

Dr Cloete explained that the Western Cape is on track in its rollout of the J&J Sisonke implementation study, to vaccinate healthcare workers.

“We have completed our first tranche of just over 13 000 vaccines, and the second tranche is currently being rolled out. Today, the first health-care workers outside of the metro started receiving their vaccinations in George, and vaccination in Worcester and in Paarl will begin soon.

“In this tranche, 64% of vaccines will be allocated to the public sector, with 36% going to the private sector and we have scaled up from four vaccination sites to a total of eight – to be brought online by March 15,” Cloete said.

“Vaccines in this study will be rolled out in four tranches, over an eight-week period, covering about 40% of the province’s health-care workers.”

Dr Cloete also reiterated that the general population will begin to receive vaccinations in phase two of the rollout.

“It is important that we urgently vaccinate priority categories within the next three months, in order to mitigate the impact of a third wave. As phase 2 includes many of our most vulnerable, including those over 60 years old, and with serious comorbidities, this phase is important in reducing deaths, and protecting our health system from becoming overwhelmed.

“In order to do this, we are working to develop an efficient delivery system, which will roll out vaccines to as many people, as quickly as possible,” Cloete said.

He said that the only vaccines currently available in the country are those being used as part of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) Sisonke study, and that given this limitation of availability, contingency plans to procure vaccines for the country and the province must be explored urgently.

He also answered a question regarding the vaccine registration, and said that the general public should wait before registering, as they are still working on perfecting the system.

“The recommendation we have at the moment is that phase one is very important for us to learn, and part of the learning is to get all the systems to work effectively,” Cloete said.

“We are actually getting onto something and we’re fixing it as we go. At this point in time on the Electronic Vaccination Data System, the registration is limited to health-care workers because we’re testing the system.”

Cloete also explained that the self-registration system is also geared towards health-care workers, by the questions that they are required to answer when registering.

“When we are ready, we will open the system for self-registration for phase two, and then it will be open for the general public, but then there will be a very important communication strategy of exactly how it should be done, how it will be processed and the process flow.

“When ready, that will be activated,” concluded Cloete.

|Cape Argus

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