Mass COVID-19 Vaccination Campaign Commences
OUTCOMES OF PHASE 1
Phase 1 was a clinical trial that attempted to vaccinate healthcare professionals and was completed recently. Through this trial, almost 480,000 healthcare workers were vaccinated. The Sisonke trial ended on 15 May as a transition to the mass rollout on 17 May.
PHASE 2 ROLLOUT OF THE COVID-19 VACCINATION
In the first step of Phase 2, around 700,000 healthcare professionals still need to be vaccinated. This is crucial considering that they are at 4.8 times greater risk of severe infection, compared to the rest of the population, they are critical to our health-care system's security as we continue to fight illnesses.
Phase 2 prioritizes those over the age of 60 and those who live in communal settings such as retirement communities and nursing facilities. Although the over 60 group makes up just 9% of the entire population, they account for 60% and 36% of COVID-related fatalities and hospitalizations, respectively. As a result, it's vital that they get vaccinated first.
This is one of the largest undertakings our country has ever undertaken. We implore you to be patient with early stage problems and supportive as the operational rollout is simplified and scaled up.
In Phase 2, almost five million elderly persons are eligible for vaccination, and the capacity required to vaccinate this group swiftly is enormous, especially given the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine's two doses per person requirement. Over the following few weeks, as more locations go live, this capacity will increase.
COVID-19 VACCINE AVAILABILITY
Vaccine delivery have been underway to 87 approved immunization locations in the public and private sectors since the launch on May 17th. Over the next two weeks, the number of vaccination stations will increase, with the objective of reaching 3,000 vaccination stations during the peak of the rollout in July and August.
Enough supplies have been procured by the end of June to administer 6.5 million doses to patients. There will be no supply constraints, according to current delivery information, thus reaching the patients by the end of July should be achievable.
The pace of implementation will be slow for the first several weeks to ensure that operations operate smoothly and efficiently, then pick up speed after that. This is a sensible strategy based on lessons learned from throughout the world.
WHAT TO DO
If you are over 60 years of age:
1. Register on the Department of Health’s Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS). This is mandatory. Based on your registration details, EVDS will issue you with your unique token when it is your turn to be vaccinated. Without this token, you won’t be eligible for vaccination. You can also register by dialling *134*832# or WhatsApp the word REGISTER to 0600 123456.
2. The over 60s who have registered on EVDS will start receiving SMS’s outlining their scheduled vaccination day, time, and site (near their home or work) over the next few days. Remember, there are still over 700,000 healthcare workers who need to be vaccinated as the priority, so the scale up will be gradual over the next one to two weeks. Please do not go to a site before you are invited to do so via SMS.
If you are younger than 60 years of age, assist those in your community to register as per above; and await further communication on your specific eligibility.