The government’s Covid-19 vaccine rollout programme is designed to register people with their unique identification information.
“Unfortunately, this excludes a large number of people without the necessary documents. And they are often at great risk and in need of vaccination and health care,” said Basu.
He said undocumented people are reluctant to access health services, including vaccination.
“There is a long culture of stigma and exclusion. They do not trust the system and are afraid that they will be reported to the police, then apprehended and deported.”
Basu said the national health department has recognised this challenge and is partnering with UP in rolling out the vaccination programme.
So far, more than 4,000 people have been vaccinated in Gauteng through the programme.
“We are initiating a structured course to address vaccine hesitancy and behaviour change through motivational interviewing, which entails guidance on lifestyle changes towards improved personal health,” said Basu.
Prof Jannie Hugo, director of the COPC research unit at UP, said if undocumented communities do not participate in the vaccine rollout, “the pandemic will continue to disrupt lives and livelihoods”.