Covid-19 'Electronic Vaccination Data System doing what we want it to do,' says senior health official

27 May 2021 - 09:07
The health department says the Electronic Vaccination Data System [EVDS] is working well despite reported challenges in the registration process.
The health department says the Electronic Vaccination Data System [EVDS] is working well despite reported challenges in the registration process.
Image: 123RF/ssilver

The deputy director-general of the health department, Dr Nicholas Crisp, says the Electronic Vaccination Data System [EVDS] is working well, despite reported hiccups in the registration process.

“It is doing what we want it to do, and in our view, it has exceeded expectations,” Crisp told SAfm on Thursday.

“It’s not just the registration and vaccination system, it’s controlling everything to do with the vaccination programme. It is a huge amount of logistics and far more complicated than meets the eye,” he said.

Crisp conceded that there had been challenges with the registration process. These he said were being “tightened”.

He said the department was administering almost 70,000 vaccinations a day.

“As sites are opening, we are able to do more vaccinations. It will take a while for people who registered some time ago before there is a site and a slot in the schedule of one of those sites that is appropriate for that individual.

“We appeal to people to be patient. We know about you. You are on the register. When there is a site near where you live, you will be invited to come for the vaccination,” Crisp said.

Asked about instances where a couple registers on the system at the same time but only one gets an SMS notification, while the other has to wait a while to be notified, Crisp said: “There may be other people registering at the same time.”

Crisp explained that the department was currently vaccinating elderly citizens because they were vulnerable and had the largest number of comorbidities.

“If we are able to address that whole group, then we are going to get control of the epidemic more quickly.

“The aim is to stop severe infections. If the elderly are able to have some immunity, it will reduce the impact on our healthcare system when the third wave arrives.”

Crisp told Business Insider on Wednesday that the department was allowing limited walk-ins. “We're asking that it be allowed for over 80s, but not encouraged,” said Crisp, of people who arrive at vaccine sites not only without an appointment, but having not registered on the EVDS. “If some 80-year-old person has taken the trouble to come ... it would be terrible to turn them away, the same with someone who is disabled. But those are exceptions.”

He told SAfm that those who did not have smartphones and wanted to register, should ask for help from their families, neighbours, healthcare centre officials and councillors.

“We have been asking people to get assistance from those who have access to a phone in the neighbourhood, or the family. Health facilities will help those who do not have access to smartphones.”

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