Funeral workers & traditional healers join medics in frontline vaccine rollout

‘We will do our best to procure enough vaccines’: health minister Zweli Mkhize

Iavan Pijoos Journalist
Health minister Zweli Mkhize said about 34,000 health-care workers have already registered for the Covid-19 vaccine.
Health minister Zweli Mkhize said about 34,000 health-care workers have already registered for the Covid-19 vaccine.

With the launch of the electronic vaccine data system (EVDS), health minister Zweli Mkhize said on Wednesday his department would do its best to make the vaccines available.

“We will do the best in terms of making the vaccines available to give us the best possible outcome,” he said.

During a public health webinar chaired by Mkhize on Covid-19 inoculation, he said about 34,000 health-care workers had already registered on the data system for the vaccine.

Health department acting COO Milani Wolmarans, who took the media through the self-registration process, said the system would allow the department to capture all the relevant data associated with administration of the vaccine.

Phase one of the vaccine rollout will include everyone at health-care facilities in the public and private sector.

This also includes funeral sector workers and traditional healers.

“Every health worker can go onto the system to register. We are not categorising any  health workers so everyone working in the health-care setting can register in the system.”

This is in line with the announcement from the KwaZulu-Natal government on Tuesday. It  said among its first vaccine beneficiaries are medical doctors, dentists, pharmacists and emergency medical service, allied health professionals, staff providing social services,  traditional healers, public sector health-care staff, military health-care staff and NGO sector staff.

Wolmarans said the department would start enrolling health-care workers for vaccination via an online app.

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This will be followed by another step in which essential workers will receive a confirmation message with a scheduled appointment, she said.

Wolmarans said the system is a “data-secure platform” built with an enterprise architecture that complies with national and international security standards.

She assured South Africans that the system would not crash even after one million people have registered online.

“It is built on a very solid platform in terms of the enterprise architecture.”

Caution around pregnant women

Chief director in the Department of Health Dr Lesley Bamford, who was also part of the webinar, said the department was in the process of finalising the details around the vaccination of pregnant women.

“Because these vaccines are new, they have not been tested in pregnant women. There is no reason to believe they would be dangerous, but because they haven’t been tested we are very cautious.

“The advice from the experts is that pregnant women should make a decision looking at the risks and benefits and they should make this decision in consultation with their health-care provider.”


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