Hotline opens for COVID-19 vaccine registration

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Eligible citizens can now self-register for vaccination by calling the COVID-19 toll-free hotline.

So says the national Department of Health (DOH), which has already rolled out several registration methods for the COVID-19 vaccine, including the electronic vaccination data system (EVDS) portal, a WhatsApp line, as well as USSD.

South Africa yesterday kicked-off phase two of the mass COVID-19 vaccination campaign, targeting persons 60 years and above.

Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has urged the elderly to use the various methods available to sign up for their COVID-19 vaccine. “All services are zero-rated and do not need airtime, data or money to use the services.”

According to Mkhize, over 1.2 million senior citizens and over 914 000 healthcare workers have signed up on EVDS, bringing the number of people that registered using the system to over 2.1 million citizens.

“We recommend that as many people as possible register beforehand,” says the minister, noting that vaccination centres are currently not allowing walk-ins.

“However, going forward, we will be able to do so,” he states. “The programme has been designed to avoid long queues. This is why it is important that as many people as possible register beforehand, and follow the instructions which they receive by SMS.”

The COVID-19 hotline operates between 8am and 6pm from Monday through Sunday, and can be reached on the toll-free number: 0800 029 999.

To register via the COVID WhatsApp number, users can do so by sending ‘REGISTER’ to 060 012 3456.

Registration by USSD can be done by dialling *134*832* followed by one’s ID number and hash key.

Government has targeted to inoculate 46.2 million South Africans by March 2022.

For phase two of the country's vaccination programme, the DOH is starting with the group above 60 years old, moving to persons 40 years and above from July. This will be followed by frontline workers above the 40-year age group.

It will then move to congregate settings such as old age homes and other institutions. By this time, the department believes the majority of those with comorbidities will be covered, including undiagnosed comorbidities.

The period for phase two of the vaccine rollout is projected to last six months, from May to October.

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