Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize on Wednesday morning launched the Electronic Vaccine Data System (EVDS) Self- Registration Portal that will be used by South Africans to register to get the Covid-19 vaccine.
The platform is currently opened to the country’s 1.2 million healthcare workers who will be prioritised in the first phase of the vaccine rollout to receive the first doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine that arrived on Monday from the Serum Institute of India (SII).
The 1.5 million shots will be checked over roughly 10 to 14 days before vaccinations can begin.
Mkhize said more than 34,000 health workers have already registered on the EVDS and the system will capture all the relevant data associated with the administration of the vaccine. He said it takes less than one megabyte and approximately two minutes to complete the registration process.
“This is the beginning of a complete vaccination health information system from registration to certification,” the minister said.
Mkhize said the portal will capitalise on the existing Health Patient Registration platform that is used to register each patient that comes to a health facility, and numerous other systems will feed into the EVDS.
The EVDS will also ensure vaccinees are contactable and alerted of any necessary information, and it will be used for the certification process for vaccinees to get their vaccine certificates and for authorities that may require the certification.
Mkhize has encouraged all active health workers – clinical and non-clinical, public and private, persal and non-persal – to self-register on the platform.
“The system will then verify that one is a health worker by checking against the data provided by the persal system, private systems, facility data, employer data (for example cleaning or security contractors) and other data from organisations and other bodies that employ or regulate health care workers.
“Therefore, whilst it is possible to register on the site if one is not a health care worker, the system will automatically prioritize verified health workers for the period of phase one,” he said.
— Dr Zweli Mkhize (@DrZweliMkhize) February 3, 2021
Healthcare workers who cannot register on the EVDS have been encouraged to seek assistance from the occupational health and safety representative in their municipality. And should a health worker not be self-registered on the portal, they will be registered at the vaccination site, Mkhize said.
“We would, however, encourage all health care workers to register before the inoculation call because this will help us to know how to refine our current allocations and get enough vaccines to the right vaccine centres at the right time,” he said.
At the same time, the health department’s acting chief operating officer (COO), Milani Wolmarans, said the EVDS will not crash after a million people have registered on the system. She said it was “built on a very solid platform” and they have put measures in place should there be challenges.
“The system is a data-secure platform built with an enterprise architecture that complies with national and international security standards,” Wolmarans said.
Wolmarans also said the system is linked to supply chain management to ensure that there are enough doses to immunise the vaccinees when they arrive at their local vaccination service site.