Covid-19 vaccine rollout: electronic system will be used to register in SA

Those without access to digital technology will not be excluded

19 March 2021 - 08:28 By belinda pheto
Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize says registration processes for the Covid-19 vaccine are in place.
Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize says registration processes for the Covid-19 vaccine are in place.
Image: Anthony Molyneaux

The electronic system now being used in the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine for health workers will also be used in subsequent stages for the rest of the population in SA.

Health minister Zweli Mkhize confirmed this in response to a parliamentary question from EFF MP Naledi Chirwa who asked about the process ordinary citizens would follow when registering to be vaccinated.

Mkhize said the registration system for beneficiaries was built to respond to phases of the vaccine rollout programme and the sequencing of the population within the phases.

“The enormity and importance of the vaccination programme require that the administration of vaccines be appropriately captured and monitored. The Electronic Vaccine Data System (EVDS) has been developed to capture vaccination events digitally and provide data to its data analytics platform to monitor and report on vaccinations,” Mkhize said.

He said the EVDS, a web-based application accessible via multiple devices, including mobile and desktop, was critical to the success of the vaccine rollout.

He said though digital systems would be used and all vaccinations digitally recorded, those without access to digital technology would not be excluded. Mkhize said all steps of the vaccination process would be available through walk-in services where people will be helped to register.

Mkhize said to streamline the process, a vaccination beneficiary register was required and a pre-vaccination registration functionality formed part of the EVDS.

“This preregistration component of the EVDS is providing the public with two options for registration, which will either be self-registration or assisted registration,” he said.

With self-registration, people as identified per phase and sequencing would have to log into a web portal and register themselves. Those unable to self-register could visit walk-in centres and vaccination sites.

The Sunday Times previously reported that Discovery Health chief commercial officer Ronald Whelan said SA's pharmaceutical supply chain was well developed and the intention was to leverage a handful of distributors and wholesalers who had a national footprint and the ability to make daily deliveries to vaccination points.

“There is enormous work happening in the background. Two big technical teams are working on this day and night, literally, one within Business for SA, the other within the department of health is moving very fast,” Whelan told the publication.

He said work on an electronic system to keep track of vaccinations and issue certificates was “very advanced in terms of the design and engaging with the partners to build it”.

It had already been built in other countries, he said, adding that Netcare and Discovery Health were leading the private sector task team in providing technical support to the health department on building the system.