Walmart-owned Massmart plans to help the government register pensioners on the Electronic Vaccination Data System portal in a bid to ease the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccination programme, it said on Thursday.
The group, which owns Game, Makro, Rhino and Cambridge Foods, said on Thursday it is leveraging its reach in under-serviced communities to further assist in the national response to the pandemic.
The 16 stores at which the pilot programme is taking place were selected based on the volume of South Africa Social Security Assistance (SASSA) transactions processed at these outlets, said the group.
The programme is currently being run from Rhino and Cambridge Food outlets, which usually service the lower income market.
The bulk of the stores are located outside large metropolitan centres across the Eastern Cape, Kwa-Zulu Natal, Gauteng and the Western Cape.
Alexander Haw, group sustainability executive at Massmart, said the group has used a combination of store staff and external healthcare workers to assist customers with the registration process.
"Many of our elderly customers find electronic registration overwhelming or don't have access to the relevant technology. So far, our feedback has been very positive. Customers are extremely grateful for the personalised support," said Haw.
Of the pensioners approached in the pilot, about 45% had already registered while a further 27% agreed to be registered (split between being registered immediately or electing to return later with their appropriate identification to then be registered). The remainder chose not to be registered, said the group.
"As we deal with the third wave of infections, we recognise that the Covid-19 vaccine is one of the best ways to mitigate the spread of the virus. We are therefore committed to educating and assisting some of the most vulnerable members of our community," said Haw.