Call for friends, family to help seniors register for vaccine

Seniors over 60 are encouraged to register to get vaccinated agaisnt Covid-19.

The Western Cape Department of Health plans to vaccinate more than 5 millions people in phase 2 of the vaccine roll-out and seniors are encouraged to register.

Citizens 60 years old and older can register to be part of the second phase of the roll-out of the vaccine – the first was administered to healthcare workers.

Depending on vaccine supply, the beginning of Phase 2 is scheduled to start on Monday May 17 when Pfizer vaccines will be used for the remainder of the healthcare workers.

Seniors will then be vaccinated as the Johnson and Johnson vaccine becomes available and once a big portion of the target population has been reached, the health department will move from one age band to the next.

Phase one is still under way, with over 68 000 of the more than 90 000 doses for healthcare workers having been administered. The vaccination programme was resumed at the end of April following a 14-day pause while safety concerns were reviewed. Premier Alan Winde said phase one would hopefully be completed by the end of this month.

The only way for people over 60 to receive the vaccine is to register as the age group is at high risk of developing severe Covid-19 related illness and death.

On Friday May 7 the province had 2 083 active Covid-19 cases and 11 646 Covid-related deaths and at his weekly Covid update, Mr Winde encouraged all residents to continue to stay safe by washing and sanitising their hands regularly, wearing masks correctly and maintaining a safe social distance. “We must continue to avoid the three Cs which include crowded spaces, close contact and confined spaces. If you are meeting with friends and family, please keep gatherings short, small and outdoors, where possible,” he said.

Registration for phase 2 of the Covid-19 vaccine roll-out opened in mid-April and is being done via the Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS).

Western Cape Health Department spokesperson Natalie Watlington called on family and friends to help seniors register.

“In order to assist those who have no access to a smartphone or experience challenges, we call on every family member, neighbour and friend to help Western Cape residents over the age of 60 to register for the Covid-19 vaccination. Receiving the Covid-19 vaccination will help to protect our elderly patients from severe Covid-19 symptoms.”

To register, you need an identification document, passport, or asylum seeker/refugee number which you will have to take with you to the vaccination site. Anyone belonging to a medical aid must also take their medical aid card to the vaccination site.

Grassy Park resident Margaret Damons, 68, a grandmother of seven, plans to register for the vaccine – and is looking forward to getting her shot. “There are so many things being said about the vaccine and many people don’t want to take it but I am more than happy to. If it means that I am a bit safer then I am willing to take it.”

Ms Damons said she would be taking the vaccine to protect herself and others. “This virus has taken so many people’s lives so by taking the vaccine I will be protecting myself and everyone around me. We as a country have been praying for intervention and I believe the vaccine is God’s way of helping us.”

How to register

To register go to the follow the instructions and put in all the details the system asks for. When you’re done, you will receive a SMS on the number you provided. This SMS will confirm your registration and when it’s your turn to be vaccinated, you will receive a SMS informing you.

It is very important to use your correct address and cellphone number so that you can be referred to your closest vaccination site and receive your vaccination information.

You can also register by dialing USSD *134*832# from any cell phone for free or WhatsApp the word REGISTER to 0600 123456

Residents who need help or assistance with enquiries can contact the provincial hotline on 0860 142 142 between 8am and 4pm on weekdays or leave a message to get a call back.