Our country has started the widespread rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine programme.
As many of you are aware, Phase 1 focused on healthcare workers, of whom 339 000 have already been vaccinated. Despite a complex start and a few setbacks, working with the National Department of Health, Government will soon be ready to massively scale up its vaccination capacity.
Phase 2, which opens vaccinations to eligible members of the general public, commenced last week on 17 May starting with the over 60s. The aim is to target the elderly and get them vaccinated by winter as the data shows that they have the highest risk of hospitalisation and mortality.
This is just the beginning of a massive national effort to vaccinate the nation. The good news is that Government has confirmed they have secured sufficient doses to vaccinate the entire eligible population and are setting up hundreds of public and privately operated vaccination sites across the country.
Last week we had an important meeting with Business for South Africa (B4SA), who have been working alongside government since January 2021 to support the build-up and roll-out of the government-led national COVID-19 vaccine programme. They are currently reaching out to business to support and amplify communication on the vaccination rollout and to encourage registrations on Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS). The National Department of Health has set a target to have five million over 60-year-olds registered on the EVDS as soon as possible.
We believe that the RMI can play an important role in helping communicate this message by:
- Leveraging our membership, and other databases to distribute messages encouraging registrations
- Using our communication channels to continuously amplify the key registration and vaccination messages shared by the National Department of Health and B4SA
We also ask where you have, or can create the capacity, please assist staff, customers, and community members directly to register on the EVDS. You will appreciate that the teams are operating under extremely tight timelines and that Phase 2 starts in less than two weeks.
A very useful and highly professional toolkit has been created Vaccine toolkit | Government Communication and Information System (GCIS). You will see this contains a number of design elements that can be used in your work spaces and in your correspondence to members. Please can we ask that you review the toolkit and see which elements you would be able to implement.
Please also find an informative video on elderly vaccine registration here: (1) Vaccine registration of over 60 year old – English – YouTube
Our country cannot afford another hard lockdown and with fears of third wave escalating we need as an industry and as citizens to do everything in our power to support and help the Government effort.