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Vaccination programme going strong

Millions of South Africans over the age of 35 have signed up for their Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) vaccine as the country’s vaccination programme continues to expand to include more categories of people.

From mid-July, the Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS) has been opened for registration for those over 35 years of age.

Within a day of the EVDS opening for this age group, more than a million of them had already registered for their vaccines and the number has been growing ever since.

While the vaccination of those over 35 was expected to start on 1 August, many who walked in at vaccination sites received their  first vaccine.

Recently, the Department of Social Development also launched its national vaccine rollout plan for frontline workers in the Early Childhood Development (ECD) sector, including ECD practitioners and staff who work in the environment.

Essential workers in the basic education sector, police and the defence force have also been vaccinated.

President Cyril Ramaphosa said government and the private sector are working together to build additional capacity to vaccinate many more people a day.

“The Department of Health is also working with the private sector to implement workplace vaccination programmes that can expand our capacity beyond public sites.

 “We are working to ensure that vaccination sites are located closer to where people live to make it easier for them,” he said.

Plans are also underway to ensure that many vaccination sites across the provinces are open six or seven days of the week.

“This will be achieved by the provision of funds for overtime and the recruitment of additional medical staff and health science students.”

The President encouraged all those who qualify for vaccination to pre-register to speed up the process at vaccination sites.

However, all sites do also allow unregistered people to walk in and be registered.

The vaccination programme has been affected by the recent unrest in some parts of the country, which resulted in some vaccination sites temporarily closing.

The Department of Health said the EVDS will automatically reschedule appointments for those who were unable to attend their appointments. The EVDS is programmed to reschedule up to two missed appointments.