More than 500,000 people 50 years and older have registered on the Electronic Vaccine Data System since the portal opened for that age group last Thursday.
THE DEPARTMENT of Health (DOH) believes the Covid-19 vaccination programme will run more efficiently once lower age groups are authorised to receive their shots.
As the country kicks off vaccinations for people aged 50 and above, more than 500,000 have registered on the Electronic Vaccine Data System (EVDS) since the portal opened for that demographic last Thursday.
Speaking on news channel eNCA on Monday morning, DOH deputy director-general Dr Nicholas Crisp said the large number of people willing to vaccinate should come as no surprise, this being a more mobile and anxious part of the population.
“When you register the 50 plus, they tend to bring older people with them and we’re not sure if that will be a trend yet, but we will watch it closely. But it does make sense that people in their fifties have parents in their 70s and 80s and it is much easier when they work together to bring older people,” he said.
People aged 50 and over will start receiving the vaccine from July 15, according to President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Learning from the challenges the DOH faced during the vaccination of those aged 60 and over, Crisp said the department had already started formulating its plan to vaccinate younger cohorts.
“We are already starting to prepare for the 40 plus. We will make sure that we are completely ready before we can turn that group on,” he said, adding that around seven million people belonged to that group.
As phase 2 of the country’s inoculation programme gathers momentum, the SAPS commenced the vaccination of its officers on Monday.
Police Minister Bheki Cele and National Commissioner Khehla Sitole led from the front, attending the vaccine drive outside Johannesburg’s Orlando stadium.
Last week, Cele said around 180,000 officers were expected to receive the vaccine.
Police officers will receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, Crisp said, adding that around 370,000 out of the 1.5 million doses received had been used already.
Several other industries such as mining and clothing and textile have also begun vaccination of their workers.
Following the latest delivery of vaccines, Crisp said there were currently around 4.5 million doses in total, from Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson.
South Africa had recorded 2,062,896 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in total, as of Sunday, with a cumulative death toll of 61,840.
– African News Agency (ANA)