Tag: vaccination

Vaccine passport to launch this week

By Xolile Bhengu for IOL

The Department of Health hopes to have the first phase of the digital vaccine passport system implemented by the end of the week.

The passport soft-launched on Tuesday morning for testing.

Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla made the announcement during the launch of the mobile Covid-19 vaccine site at uMlazi township’s Umlazi Plaza as part of the Vooma Vaccination Weekend.

Phaahla said the pandemic had accelerated plans by the department, as it headed towards a universal healthcare system, to have a more digitised patient system.

“We will keep improving the system to verify that it captures the correct details for every person that has visited a vaccination site.”

The passport could be used to verify being vaccinated and allow access to sport facilities and music events, he said.

He said it was crucial for the department that KZN – which is a tourism-focused province – avoids a possible fourth wave.

He said the government was opting to engage the public about the Covid-19 vaccine instead of enforcing law enforcement for spreading false information about the vaccine.

The Health Department said the 18-34 year age group had not brought in the numbers they had initially hoped for in the vaccine roll-out programme, and the over 60 age group had challenges such as lack of transportation to reach vaccine sites.

It said KZN had only reached 11.1% of the required 70% for herd immunity.

Phaahla said only 13 million people had been fully vaccinated and the country needed more.

The government wants to have 70% of the adult population vaccinated by the end of the year.

He said while the initial uptake of Covid-19 vaccines had been good, a lot of misinformation had led people to become scared.

“Covid-19 forced us to revisit and improve our digital health platforms. The pandemic enabled us to have one health registration system through EVDS to merge both the public and private health system. We still have to discuss how post the pandemic the system could be utilised. It could be converted to an e-health file system, to have a proper medical history verification process through just scanning an ID number,” said Phaahla.

KZN MEC for Health Nomagugu Simelane said uMlazi as the second largest township in the country had been identified as one of the areas where the department needed to focus to ensure that people get vaccinated.

“Initially we were everywhere to drive the vaccine roll-out. But (Phaahla) has asked us to focus our efforts where we can see we have the lowest numbers.

“The private sector has come out to support us. For instance Toyota helped us to set up a vaccine site for its 8 000 employees, with the additional agreement that the site would be made available to the local community as well.

“Other companies that have come to the party are Spar and Hulett. We cannot do this alone and we need partnerships and we are asking even taxi owners to join us,” said Simelane.

 

Source: IOL

Retailer Shoprite Group is calling on the government to allow its employees to receive vaccinations urgently as the third wave of the Covid-19 increases in severity.

The group said it has more than 140 000 employees who serve more than 25 million people a month.

The supermarket group said it was South Africa’s largest private-sector employer, and believes the government must prioritise the allocation of vaccines to its front-line workers. It will source and administer the vaccines at its own cost and through its logistics and pharmaceutical infrastructure.

The group said when President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the level 4 restrictions, he said the mining, manufacturing and taxi industries would be the focus of the fourth stream of the vaccination programme.

Shoprite Group chief executive Pieter Engelbrecht said: “Our front-line workers, including cashiers, merchandisers and line management retail workers, have been at work every day since the onset of the pandemic, working tirelessly to ensure we provide food, essential groceries and medicine to the nation.

“Our people interact with 25 million customers coming into our stores every month, and they must be vaccinated,” said Engelbrecht.

He said the group strongly believed that its employees should be prioritised, and the group was ready to roll out vaccinations on behalf of the government to its employees.

The group said it had a logistical and pharmaceutical distribution network to roll out vaccines to its employees through Transpharm Pharmaceutical Distributors and pharmacy chain MediRite.

“As the last few weeks have shown, South Africa will continue to be vulnerable to future waves of Covid-19 until we have vaccinated a sufficient percentage of our population,” Engelbrecht said.

“The group is eager to see the vaccine roll-out programme accelerated, and we can help if we can secure and administer vaccines while absorbing all the costs ourselves.

“We are prepared to play a role and foot the bill, and we can ensure it will happen rapidly,” said Engelbrecht.

 

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