Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

The who, when, where and how of South Africa’s mass Covid vaccination campaign

People 60 years and older who have registered to get their Covid-19 jab are asked not to queue at allocated vaccination sites if they have not received an SMS confirmation to do so. 

On Monday 17 May, South Africa started its nationwide vaccination roll-out. 

The aim of phase 1B and phase two is to vaccinate 700 000 health workers and five million people aged 60 and over by the end of June.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize reiterated at the launch of the mass vaccination drive on Sunday evening 16 May that “we will start fairly slowly over the course of the week then ramp up towards the end of the month”. 

“We will continue to vaccinate healthcare workers and complete the targeted 1.2-million by the end of the week. We will also begin to vaccinate citizens 60 years and older, who are the most vulnerable to becoming ill or dying of Covid-19.”

The aim of the nationwide vaccination campaign is to see more than 40-million adults vaccinated against Covid-19 by February 2022

The Sisonke programme, which saw 478 733 health workers being vaccinated, has ended and the remainder of the 500 000 vials issued under the programme will be sent to the South African Medical Research Council.

Old age homes receiving the vaccine

From Monday, the two-shot Pfizer vaccine will be administered at 87 sites nationwide, with the aim of injecting more than 10 000 people on the first day. More than 7 000 health workers and 4 288 people 60 years and older have received their confirmation SMS informing them where and when they must turn up for their Covid-19 jab, according to the department of health. 

To avoid long queues and prevent the spread of the virus no walk-ins will be allowed. People in homes for older people will not get an SMS because their vaccines will be administered where they live. 

The health department is targeting about 7 700 senior citizens in 102 homes for older people by the end of this week, and about another 50 000 by the end of May.

What is required and what to expect

  • Proof of identification: ID book, driver’s licence or passport; 
  • Medical aid card, if you are a member;
  • If you miss your vaccine appointment you will be rescheduled. If you miss three appointments you will not be rescheduled but you can ask to be rescheduled; 
  • You cannot choose which vaccine you will receive; 
  • After your first dose of vaccine you will be told if a second dose is needed and when and where it will be administered; 
  • Aftereffects are not uncommon. They include flu-like symptoms — a mild fever, headache and tiredness— over one to two days can be expected; and 
  • People who have completed their vaccination course will get an SMS and vaccination card for proof of having been vaccinated. 

How to register for a vaccination

About 2.1-million people have already registered for vaccination — 914 000 health workers and 1.2-million people aged 60 years and older.  

People can register on the Electronic Vaccine Data System (EVDS) in five ways:

1. Online;

2. Using WhatsApp, 0600 123456;

3. By SMS, *134*832#;

4. Call the toll-free Covid-19 hotline, 0800 029 999;

5.  A QR code will soon be available on the health department’s website.

Prevent the spread of the virus

The vaccine can show immunity markers after 14 days of receiving the vaccine. Mkhize said people will be protected against a severe case of Covid-19 or from dying from the virus. 

But he said: “No vaccine works 100% and we still do not know whether vaccination prevents transmission of the virus.”

People must still adhere to all health protocols — wearing a mask, washing hands with soap or using a sanitiser and maintaining a distance of at least 1.5m — to stop the spread of the virus.

As of Sunday 16 May, South Africa recorded 2 585 new Covid-19 infections, bringing the total of positive cases since the start of the pandemic in the country in March 2020 to more than 1.6-million cases. About 55 000 people have died.

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Eunice Stoltz
Eunice Stoltz is a junior daily news reporter at the Mail & Guardian. She was previously a freelance journalist and a broadcaster at Maroela Media and Smile90.4FM.

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

Basic web lessons for South Africa: Government hacks point to...

Recent cyberattacks at the department of justice and the space agency highlight the extent of our naïveté

‘The children cannot cope any more’: Suicide in Calvinia highlights...

How Covid-19 has intensified the physical and emotional burdens placed on children’s shoulders.

More top stories

Sisters pave the way with ecobricks

The durable bricks are made from 30% recycled plastic, some of which they collect from a network of 50 waste pickers

If the inflation-driving supply strain in the US lasts, it...

In South Africa, a strong trade surplus, buoyed by robust commodity prices, will cushion our economy against pressure arising from US policy

Farmers squeezed by big retailers

It may be beneficial for consumers when supermarkets push to get the lowest price from suppliers, but it can harm the farmers

Covid-19: No vaccine booster shots needed yet

Scientists agree it is important to get most of the population vaccinated before giving booster jabs
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×