Ramaphosa Unveils Electronic Covid-19 Vaccine Data System to Streamline Registration and Deployment


President Cyril Ramaphosa and Vice President David Mabuza, who chairs the Interdepartmental Committee on Vaccines, receive South Africa’s first shipment of Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine on Monday from the Serum Institute of India at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. Photo: Elmond Jiyane / GCIS

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As South Africans celebrated the easing of restrictions on the sale of alcohol on Monday evening, President Cyril Ramaphosa used most of his speech to address the deployment of the vaccine against the Covid-19 coronavirus.

With the arrival of the first million doses of Covid-19 vaccine, the Ministry of Health has developed an electronic vaccine data system to streamline the process of vaccine registration and deployment.

This was announced by Ramaphosa on Monday when he addressed the nation regarding the government’s efforts to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said this new electronic system will allow the government “to capture all relevant data associated with the administration of the vaccine” given the huge numbers that must be inoculated for the country’s herd immunity.

“Our scientists estimate that we will likely achieve herd immunity once around 67% of our population is immune. This represents around 40 million people in South Africa, ”said Ramaphosa.

He said the new electronic system would allow South Africans “to make an appointment as soon as they qualify for a vaccination at the nearest vaccination center”.

The system is, according to Ramaphosa, also configured to record vaccinations as they are given in order to keep track of how many people have received and who are still receiving the vaccine.

Thanks to the African Union African Vaccine Procurement Task Force, we have so far secured 1 billion vaccines for the entire continent.

President Cyril Ramaphosa

Having received delivery of the vaccine earlier today, Ramaphosa said the next step was to “test them at the national control laboratory” to confirm that their integrity had been maintained during transport.

From there, Ramaphosa said the vaccines would be distributed across the country to thousands of our healthcare workers “who put their lives on the line every day to save others.”

Read: Eastern Cape prepares for vaccination against Covid-19

He added that provincial health departments have submitted their distribution plans and the government has already identified around 200 facilities where vaccines can be distributed.

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The government coordinates the immunization program through the committee chaired by Vice President Mabuza, and it focuses on procurement, distribution, actual immunization, monitoring, communication and mobilization. Image: GCIS

Once the government completes immunization of healthcare workers, Ramaphosa said the country will move to phase 2 of the national immunization strategy, which will involve immunization of essential workers, people over 60, people with co-morbidities, as well as those living in places such as nursing homes and homes.

In phase 3, the vaccinations will extend to the rest of the adult population.

There was also an indication that the country was still sourcing vaccines from a number of suppliers to meet the country’s goal of 40 million.

Ramaphosa said the country had acquired an additional 500,000 doses from the Serum Institute of India to arrive later in February.

“We also got 12 million doses in total from the global Covax facility, which has indicated it will release around 2 million doses by March,” Ramaphosa said.

Read: A vaccine is coming, but when are things going to change?

On top of that, he also said the government had also obtained 9 million doses of the vaccine from Johnson & Johnson, and would begin delivery in the second quarter.

“Johnson & Johnson has contracted with Aspen, one of our pharmaceutical companies, to manufacture these vaccines in South Africa,” said Ramaphosa.

We assessed the state of the pandemic. We sought expert advice and consulted representatives of provincial and local governments and traditional leaders.

President Cyril Ramaphosa

He also said Pfizer had committed 20 million doses of the vaccine to begin delivery in the second quarter, with the country also in advanced negotiations with manufacturers to secure additional supplies.

“South Africa will also receive an allocation of vaccine doses through the African Union, which has negotiated with manufacturers to obtain vaccines for the entire continent on a common basis.

“Thanks to the African Union Vaccine Procurement Task Force, we have so far secured 1 billion vaccines for the entire continent,” said Ramaphosa.

Besides the advances on vaccines, Ramaphosa has also adjusted some of the lockdown restrictions.

He said: “Over the past few days we have assessed the state of the pandemic. We sought expert advice and consulted representatives of provincial and local governments and traditional leaders.

He said the sharp drop in new infections, hospital admissions and deaths had prompted Cabinet to gradually ease a number of restrictions below adjusted level 3.

Curfew hours will now be from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m., while establishments will have to close before 10 p.m. to allow their customers and staff to return home before the curfew.

Confessional gatherings will be authorized, subject to health protocols.

These gatherings cannot exceed 50 people for the interior rooms and 100 people for the exterior rooms.

“When the room is too small to accommodate these numbers with appropriate social distancing, then no more than 50% of the room’s capacity can be used,” Ramaphosa said.


Junior Khumalo

Political journalist


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