Covid-19: Vaccine rollout to expand to people over 50-years-old and public servants

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First teacher to get the Covid-19 vaccine, Eugenia Paulo-Goagoses, from Masiphatisane Primary School in Cape Town.
First teacher to get the Covid-19 vaccine, Eugenia Paulo-Goagoses, from Masiphatisane Primary School in Cape Town.
PHOTO: Brenton Geach/Gallo Images
  • Vaccine registrations will open for people aged 50 and older from July.
  • Additional stock of vaccines is expected to arrive within the next few weeks.
  • The government is vaccinating around 100 000 people a day.

Vaccine registrations for people who are older than 50 are expected to open next month.

Acting Health Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane announced on Friday that the vaccination rollout programme would be extended to include other age categories in July.

The health department is aiming to administer the first doses to people aged 50 and older from 15 July.

The move comes after the country's supply of vaccines increased, following the delivery of more than one million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccines on Thursday. Further deliveries of Pfizer doses are expected next month.

Health department director-general Nicholas Crisp said only around half of people aged 60 and older registered for a vaccine. In some parts of the country, this age band has been fully vaccinated, he said, and this has prompted officials to open registration for others.

Crisp added that, unexpectedly, registrations on the Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS) were best in rural areas, particularly in Limpopo. He said the department was trying to understand the reasons for this.

In the meantime, the department will add five additional languages to the EVDS in case a language barrier is preventing registrations.

'Gearing up rapidly'

By Thursday, 2.5 million vaccines were administered.

There have been, on average, around 85 000 vaccinations a day. With the rollout to the basic education sector, this increased to 100 000 vaccines a day.

It is anticipated that it will increase to 150 000 next week, and to 250 000 by the end of July.

Crisp added that the number of vaccines administered is likely to increase as the country receives more vaccines.

"Both public and private sectors are gearing up rapidly," he said.

Vaccines will also be administered to the public service sector from July.

Those in line to receive vaccines are police officers, defence force members, correctional services staff, justice department staff and some Sassa officials.

Workplace programmes will also take place, according to Crisp.

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