South Africa opens Covid-19 vaccination registration for all from 16 April

The health department announces plans to roll out the second phase of its vaccination programme.

Announced on Friday, South Africans will be able to register to voluntarily receive a coronavirus vaccine from April 16 through the Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS). Vaccinations will be rolled out in two phases – on 17 May and 17 October, according to Dr Leslie Bamford, coordinator of the roll-out programme. She also indicated short-term supply constraints were expected between May to August whilst the country awaits Pfizer’s vaccine. J&J’s vaccine is expected to be made available this month thanks to the localised production at Aspen’s Gqeberha facility. SA plans to roll out Pfizer’s two-shot vaccine across the metros where the necessary facilities were available with rural areas expected to receive the J&J vaccine instead.

With Phase 1 having targeted about 500,000 front-line healthcare workers through the Sisonke Early Access Programme, Phase 2 of the rollout will be targeting the remaining healthcare workers, those aged over 60, workers aged 40 and older as well as those living in congregate settings such as prisons and old-age homes. Vaccinations will be carried out across public venues such as schools, halls and shopping centres, as well as GP practices, hospitals, clinics and pharmacies. An identity document or “equivalent proof” would be needed to access vaccinations. Whilst the department would like as many people as possible to register on the EVDS, provision would also be made at vaccination sites for those who couldn’t access the electronic system.