Chairperson of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Vaccines Professor Barry Schoub has condemned reports that some people are fraudulently registering in order to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Schoub says officials are currently looking into the matter. A newspaper report alleges that some healthcare practitioners in the private sector, as well as members of the public, are abusing the national Electronic Vaccine Data System (EVDS) to secure COVID-19 vaccine doses for their wives and employees who don’t come into contact with patients.

In the current vaccination programme, only healthcare workers who have close contact with patients must register to be vaccinated.

EXPLAINER South Africa’s vaccine rollout strategy:

Schoub says those who falsely register are taking vaccine doses from those who really need them.

“Obviously you want to get as many people vaccinated as soon as possible but we do have a hierarchy and it must go to the most pressing needs first and then further down as it goes to the rest of the population,” says Schoub.

He added saying, “Jumping the queue certainly cannot be condoned and when you pull out that registration form we expect people to be honest about it and if people are not going, to be honest, they are holding up vaccines which should go to people who are exposed. One is actually making a false declaration and there could be proceedings against people who are abusing it, apparently, there will be some follow-up.”

Process of getting the COVID-19 vaccine in South Africa:

Phase two of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout could begin at the end of April

Phase two of South Africa’s coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine rollout could begin at the end of April. To date, over a hundred thousand healthcare workers have been vaccinated in phase one of the Johnson& Johnson vaccine drive.

Deputy Director-General at the Department of Health Doctor Anban Pillay explains that the elderly will be given first priority when the second phase is rolled out.

“Our target is that we would have completed healthcare workers in April. By late April, early May, we would then start with Phase 2 which is the elderly – those with comorbidities, for those who are essential workers and those living in what we call congregate settings or working in congregate settings. Within Phase 2, we’ll have sub-groups, so certainly for example in the elderly we’d start with those that are at the higher age group first, setting a target for example everybody that is over the age of 75 will be vaccinated first.”

Meanwhile, the Department of Health says it is pleased that more than 100 000 healthcare workers have been vaccinated in just over two weeks with the early access Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

Officials say as demand for the vaccine continues to increase, government is rapidly and successfully rolling out the delivery of the vaccine to healthcare workers through a partnership with the Sisonke Study.

The department says the government is working on ensuring that all healthcare workers are vaccinated in a timeous and fair way.