There is a concerning decline of vaccine registrations across South Africa, with up to 70% of registered people not even showing up to receive their jab. According to News24, the national Health Department and the private sector are investigating why registrations on the Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS) have stagnated.
The deputy Director-General in the national Department of Health, Dr Nicholas Crisp, who oversees the EVDS says that registrations have started to lose momentum across the country over the past few weeks.
“Registrations have slowed down a lot across the country. What we are seeing is that people who have registered, even insured people, are not coming for their vaccinations even when they get called (in). There are up to 70% no-shows at some sites.
“We don’t know why. But I can speculate that people are now afraid to go and stand in queues because there is a lot of disease out there at the moment. We don’t know why people are not coming to the vaccination [sites].
“The private sector, in particular mostly in the insured populations, are experiencing a lot of no-shows. They are busy with a piece of research to understand the dynamics of what’s happening. We are all concerned about why it’s like that. It slows down the whole programme and that’s another reason we had to increase the age categories. We are running out of people to vaccinate,” he said.
As Crisp maintains, majority of these no-shows are within the private sector and this absence can be seen at private vaccination sites.
According to News24, workers in the education sector started the vaccination process last week with more than 200 000 already vaccinated. Crisp expects all sectoral vaccinations to run smoothly.
“All the sectoral vaccinations will go easily. They are an organised group. We know who they are before they come. We have the database so it’s very quick. We work with the parent department and they do all the preparatory work from their side,” he said.
In the last week, the government has received 1.2 million doses of the J&J vaccine, which will be set aside for sectoral vaccination use and 1.4 million of Pfizer from the Covax facility to be administered to the general population.
“We are using the J&J vaccine in the sectoral programmes purely because they all expire on the 11th of August. So we need to use them quickly. And the quickest way to use them is through the groups that are organised. We know who they are, we have their ID numbers and they have already given consent through their employer,” Crisp explains.
Crisp further cautioned the public regarding discrimination against incarcerated people: “The public must be careful of jumping to conclusions on inmates. We cannot discriminate against them. Our Constitution gives the same rights to people even if they are incarcerated,” he added.