Western Cape govt to now send Covid-19 vaccine SMSes to make process more accessible

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Photo by Deaan Vivier/Beeld/Gallo Images via Getty
  • The Western Cape health department has taken control of local SMS distribution of Covid-19 vaccination appointment dates and venues.  
  • This after a scramble on Monday when some people were allocated sites far away from home.  
  • Some people also received their appointment SMS a few hours before their vaccination. 

The Western Cape Department of Health has taken over the local SMS distribution of Covid-19 vaccination appointment dates and venues.   

This after an initial scramble on Monday, when some people were allocated sites, via the national system, at vaccination centres far away from home, while others received notifications mere hours before their vaccination appointments.   

An urgent call was also made for people with access to technology to help those over 60 with registration for the vaccines. 

Premier Alan Winde said that local handling of the appointment notifications would help match recipients with facilities closer to them. 

Provincial health department head Dr Keith Cloete reiterated that the vaccination policy gives people three chances to get to their appointment.  

EXPLAINER | What happens if you miss your scheduled vaccination?

He explained that if a recipient misses their first appointment, the system should generate an SMS inviting them to a second appointment, and again for a third if the second is missed.  

The department is also working towards a three-day lead time and eventually a five-day lead time between when the SMS is sent, and the appointment date, in order to help recipients plan ahead.   

However, the department is concerned about the low registration rate for around 720 000 people who are 60 and over. 

Only 38% of those who qualify have registered.  

Since Monday, approximately 4 000 people were vaccinated in Phase 2 of the vaccination programme in the Western Cape.

Winde urged people to help these recipients register, especially people who do not have a smartphone.  

He said it took six minutes to register a person and called on people who could help somebody register, to do so.   

READ | Covid-19: Zweli Mkhize wants healthcare worker vaccinations done by the end of the week

Winde added that one school had even made it a project for their pupils.

He said it was so successful that it was being considered as a wider initiative involving schools.   

In the meantime, the statistics show that although the province is experiencing a resurgence of Covid-19 cases, it is not officially in the third wave of the pandemic yet. The third wave is expected by mid-June at the current trajectory, if new infections are not minimised.  

The newest cluster outbreaks have been associated with events in more affluent suburbs in the province.  

A party at a farm and a Mother's Day function were linked to new outbreaks. 

Seventeen crew members on a ship berthed in Cape Town harbour are also isolating after testing positive for the virus.  

The national Department of Health is still waiting for worldwide clearance by the US Food and Drug Administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. This is expected by the end of May.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Show Comments ()
Voting Booth
Who do you think should lead the Democratic Alliance after the party’s upcoming national congress in April?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
John Steenhuisen for sure, he’s got the experience
63% - 1765 votes
Mpho Phalatse, the DA needs a fresh outlook
37% - 1049 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.