Social Development sector vaccination rollout plan gains momentum in South Africa

The Social Development sector has increased its vaccination rollout plan across the country with the Northern and Western Cape provinces joining other provinces in starting their vaccination rollout on Wednesday.

During a site visit to Tembisa and Thokoza vaccination sites in Gauteng on Monday, Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu, said she was pleased at the turnout of the sector, especially the Early Childhood Development (ECD) practitioners and social workers that presented themselves for vaccination. She said this was a “good starting point for this programme.”

“I am equally pleased at the level of coordination and efficiency of the Department of Health at the vaccination sites which makes the vaccination journey a seamless process, and I appreciate the support from the Acting Minister of Health and her team in this regard,” Zulu said.

This is while there have been minor challenges, including some names of social service professions workforce not appearing on the Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS) system due to technical errors experienced by the South African Council for Social Service Professions (SACSSP). Other challenges include that some ECD sector members are not being adequately scheduled for vaccination in specific sites.

These have since been largely resolved. The Limpopo province is expected to start its vaccination rollout on Friday, 23 July 2021.

The Minister encouraged the social service professionals and all ECDs workforce to vaccinate by Friday 23 July 2021.

All ECD services who have been uploaded onto the Department of Health’s EVDS by the Department of Social Development, are also encouraged to go to their nearest designated Social Development vaccination sites in the provinces where they reside, to get vaccinated.

“For the ECD workforce and social service professionals who are not sure whether they have been uploaded onto the EVDS, they should contact: 0800 029 999 before going to the vaccination sites. In the event that their details are not on the EVDS, ECD workforce and social service professionals can contact their provincial coordinators, who will provide them with the necessary assistance.

“Members of the sector are reminded that all vaccines are safe and are the same, and they should take vaccines available at the sites and not necessarily choose between which vaccines to take,” Zulu said.

Members of the sector are reminded to carry the following documents when going to vaccination sites:

  • Identity document or Passport;
  • Employee card; and practice card or receipt in the case of registered practitioners;
  • Medical aid cards for those who are on any medical aid; and
  • To ensure that they have an updated cell-phone number which must be provided to the healthcare professional at the vaccination site in order to ensure that they receive further communication directly from the Department of Health.

The vaccination sites will remain open between 8am and 3pm daily.

Whilst vaccinations are voluntary, the Minister has encouraged all members of the sector to go out and vaccinate, as “this is the only lifeline they may have against the ravaging effects of COVID-19, which has already claimed many lives even within the Social Sector.”

“Vaccinations are indeed safe and will ensure protection against the spread of this virus, and they will also enable members of the sector to be able to reach more people knowing that they have been vaccinated,” Zulu said.

Zulu was accompanied by Acting Health Minister Mamoloko Kubayi.  – SAnews