People eligible for phase two of the Covid-19 vaccine roll-out plan can now register online. As of 4pm on Friday, people can use the Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS) to register to be vaccinated for Covid-19.
Phase two includes people over 60 years, workers aged 40 and older, and people living with co-morbidities. The initial target of including persons in congregate settings was amended after receiving new recommendations based on data showing 40 000 deaths can be prevented through vaccinating 5.5-million people who are older than 60 years. Thus, phase two will commence with nursing homes and care facilities.
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize told parliament this week that phase two aims to start in mid-May and will run over six months.
During phase two, the government’s target is to vaccinate 16.6-million people.
Some 290 000 of the more than 600 000 healthcare workers who registered to be vaccinated have received their jab since the department of health started its vaccination program on 17 February.
The government’s efforts to roll out its planned vaccination programme have experienced several setbacks due to external factors. The first challenge came when the low efficacy of the AstraZeneca vaccine against the Covid-19 variant, 501Y.V2, was discovered. It resulted in South Africa choosing the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine. This week the government was dealt another blow after receiving advice to temporarily halt its J&J vaccine because of rare but severe blood clots identified in six American women who received the vaccine.
Fortunately, South Africa has managed to secure another 10-million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, bringing the total to 30-million. The first shipment of two million doses is expected in May.
Meanwhile, the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority is collecting information from local and international regulatory bodies to assess the side effects of the J&J vaccine thoroughly.