South Africa is currently moving into a public vaccination phase. When an individual is vaccinated against a disease, their risk of infection is reduced. The priority for the COVID-19 vaccines is to prevent morbidity and mortality, while also working towards achieving herd immunity and prevent ongoing transmission.

1. Healthcare staff will continue to receive vaccinations

We know that it is important that our healthcare workers are protected against the disease, to ensure that they are able to continue supporting the community with their health needs. This roll-out will continue alongside the vaccination of over 60s in the community.

2. Where to register for vaccination

The National Department of Health (NDoH) has established a registration portal called the EVDS, where all eligible members of the public can register for the vaccine: https://vaccine.enroll.health.gov.za/. At later stages, individuals will be categorised according to their risk (e.g. age & chronic diseases). When you are eligible, you will receive a vaccine code and be directed to the nearest, most appropriate vaccine centre with details of time and date for vaccination. This vaccine code is an important element, so please take this along with you to the relevant vaccination centre.

Other channels of registration include:

  • Send a WhatsApp saying “REGISTER” to 0600 123 456
  • SMS *134*832* followed by your ID number
  • If you do not have an ID number just dial *134*832#

If you have a problem registering or if you have any questions, please contact the COVID-19 Hotline at 0800 029 999 or email evds.hcwselfregistration@health.gov.za.

3. Why are persons older than 60 being prioritised?

It is a very important group of people to be vaccinated, as people above the age of 60 have a much higher mortality rate should they be infected with COVID-19. For this reason, they will be prioritised in the roll-out phase.

4. More vaccination centres will  be coming on board in the next few weeks

The NDoH has already established a number of vaccination centres, but will be adding to these numbers. By the end of the first week, this should reach about 200 vaccination centres. The NDoH is also planning to vaccinate groups in old age homes and to simplify the process at these facilities.

5. Are walk-ins currently allowed at vaccination centres?

At this point, walk-ins are not going to be accommodated at vaccination centres. Those who have been issued with a vaccine code will be directed via SMS to specific vaccination centres, and will be accommodated in specific intervals, in order to reduce the risk of long queues.

6. Cost of vaccines for the public

Members of the public will not have to pay for the vaccination. Should an individual be a member of a medical aid, this will be claimed back from the fund, or if the individual is not medically insured, the fee will be claimed from the government fund.

7. Mild side effects are quite common

Vaccines can cause mild symptoms resembling those of the disease they are providing protection against. However, these symptoms are actually the body’s immune system reacting to the vaccine and not the disease itself. These symptoms may include fever, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills, diarrhoea or pain at the injection site. Symptoms are usually mild and only last 1-2 days.