Covid-19 vaccine South Africa
(Photo by Sharon Seretlo/Gallo Images via Getty Images)
  • South Africans need to self-register on the Electronic Vaccination Data System to book their Covid-19 jabs.
  • The system underpins the country's vaccination rollout, allocating both doses and appointments to specific sites.
  • But after two months, only half of South Africans, aged 60 and above, have registered.
  • At this rate, the vaccination of senior citizens will only be completed in September.
  • For more articles, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

South Africa's self-registration vaccination portal was opened to citizens aged 60 and above in mid-April. Only half of the country's over 60s had booked their jabs by 22 June.

South Africa's slow vaccination rollout has been marred by procurement delays, supply constraints, and regulatory setbacks. The health department's plan to vaccinate some 40 million people – representing 67% of the population targeted for herd immunity – by early 2022 is far behind schedule.

Around 2.3 million South Africans – 3.87% of the total population – had received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine by Wednesday 22 June. It's taken more than four months – at an average daily vaccination rate of 18,503 doses – to reach this point. Even at the peak rate, of around 85,000 daily doses, achieved in recent weeks, the pace of South Africa's rollout needs to increase by at least 40% to achieve herd immunity within the first half of 2022.

By the time Phase 2 of the rollout began on 17 May, more than 1.2 million senior citizens had already registered for their Covid-19 jabs through the Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS) which had opened to those aged 60 and above a month earlier. The EVDS is crucial in monitoring the regional supply of vaccines, ensuring that an adequate amount of doses are delivered to sites according to the registration tally.

Covid-19 vaccine rollout
Department of health Covid-19 vaccine rollout timeline

This second phase has recently been extended to school staff, with police, military personnel, correctional services staff, mineworkers, and those in the public transport sector next in line to begin receiving their jabs in July. Vaccinations are also expected to open to those aged 50 and above in mid-July, according to the department of health.

But getting people to register on the EVDS – critical in securing a vaccination appointment for the general population – is proving difficult.

EVDS registrations
Department of health

A total of 2,766,020 people aged 60 and above had registered on the EVDS by Wednesday, according to data provided by the health department. This represents just 51.60% of the number of people in this age bracket – totalling 5,359,583 – according to Statistics South Africa's mid-year population estimates published in 2020.

At this rate of registration, the vaccination of South Africans aged 60 and above will only be completed in September.

EVDS registrations
Registration data provided by the national department of health (midnight, 22 June 2021) Population data provided by Statistics South Africa (Mid-year population estimates 2020)

Only four provinces are currently exceeding the national registration rate for elderly citizens. KwaZulu-Natal, the Western Cape, and Eastern Cape have managed to register between 53.3% and 54.7% of persons aged 60 and above. Limpopo, which is leading the vaccination race in terms of doses administered as a percentage of the provincial population, has registered 86.26% of its seniors.

Gauteng, which is currently driving South Africa’s third wave of Covid-19 infections and lagging behind the national vaccination drive, has only managed to register 44.53% of those over 60.

Mpumalanga is the slowest province to rollout Covid-19 vaccines and has registered less than 40% of its seniors aged 60 and above. Only 27.72% of the Northern Cape's elderly have registered on the EVDS.

(Compiled by Luke Daniel)

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