Health minister Zweli Mkhize. Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA
Health minister Zweli Mkhize. Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA

Health minister Zweli Mkhize says the coronavirus vaccine registration portal will be opened on Friday afternoon to all citizens who are 60 and older‚ as government prioritises those who are most at risk of getting sick or dying of Covid-19.

Mkhize hailed this as a significant milestone not only for the country’s vaccination campaign but for SA’s advancement towards universal health coverage.

“This is the first time in our democratic history that a major public health campaign will be supported by one digital system for all South Africans‚” he said.

Those eligible will be able to register on the portal from 4pm on Friday afternoon.

Those registering will need to have their ID and medical scheme numbers‚ if a member.

“Registration does not guarantee that you will be vaccinated immediately. We will use the information you provide when you register to communicate with you about the vaccination programme when necessary. The data from the system assists us to allocate the vaccines to the vaccine service points‚” Mkhize explained. Once registered‚ the system will send a SMS confirmation to the cellphone number supplied and you will be in the virtual queue to be scheduled for the jab.

“When it is your turn to be vaccinated‚ the system will send you another SMS with a date and the place where you will be vaccinated.” This will either be at a vaccination centre closest to your home or your workplace.

At the vaccination service point‚ people will be provided with a proof of vaccination card and will receive a confirmation SMS on their phones.

Said Mkhize: “I want to reassure South Africans that we do have a plan to ensure that everyone is registered and we want as many people as possible to be registered before going to be vaccinated: this will save a lot of time and will also help us to allocate vaccinations to respective areas appropriately.”

People without smartphones or internet access will be contacted in person by teams: this includes the elderly‚ the homeless and those who live in deep rural areas that are difficult to reach.

“We will ensure that these team members are easy to identify and that you can verify that they are indeed accredited outreach team members‚” said the minister.

Citizens with access to the internet are also encouraged to help those who require assistance with registration on the portal.

“If you are unable to register by these methods‚ you may simply go to the nearest vaccination centre and we will register you on the spot. If you are 60 years or above we will also vaccinate you at the same time‚” said Mkhize.

TimesLIVE

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