South Africa plans on using a completely paperless system when it comes to the management and monitoring of the COVID-19 vaccination process. This system is called the Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS) and is expected to go live when the vaccine roll-out begins early in February.

The system will also be used to track the distribution of vaccines, and the vehicles transporting them to various facilities.

Essentially, the system will create an electronic health record, which will track patient demographics, the number of doses taken by each patient, which hospital the patient went to for their vaccination, which vaccine was administered and a record of vaccination issued to individuals.

According to Dr Anban Pillay, deputy director-general (DDG) at the Department of Health, the system will give access to data that is essential in the monitoring of the vaccine uptake and coverage, as well as its effectiveness.

“We have learnt from the distribution in other countries that the safety and theft of vaccines is a problem. There’ll be a track and trace of vaccines using barcode scanning as well as the safe and secure disposal of these packaging, vials and data verification linked to the volumes that have been submitted,” he said to IOL.

A similar system has been utilised in Ghana, where it used to manage its yellow fever vaccine programme. It will also be adopted to do the same with COVID-19 vaccinations once those are distributed to Africa.

“The move from Ghana’s current paper-based vaccination campaign records to digital data management using the Oracle platform will enable our data to be easily accessible by authorized persons. The data will be more secure, and there will be no worry about lost cards as people travel,” said Dr Kwame Amponsa-Achiano, Expanded Programme on Immunization, Ghana Health Service.

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Lucinda is a hard news writer who occasionally dabbles in lifestyle writing, and recent journalism graduate. She is a proud intersectional feminist, and is passionate about actively creating a world which is free of discrimination and inequality.