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Media note from Business for South Africa (B4SA)

Friday, 16 April 2021

B4SA to support national vaccination programme, calls on over 60’s to register on the EVDS 

Johannesburg, 16 April 2021 -- B4SA today welcomed the launch of the EVDS registration process for Phase 2 of the national vaccination programme.  From 4pm today, the EVDS system will be open to those over the age of 60 for registration.  

Martin Kingston, of Chairman of B4SA’s Steering Committee says:  “We welcome Government’s prioritisation of those over the age of 60, as they are most at risk of contracting severe illness and hospitalisation, and of death.  This is significant progress. We must seek to vaccinate this group as quickly as possible and ahead of the third wave and the onset of winter.  Consequently, we are calling on all those over 60, regardless of whether they are part of a medical aid scheme or not, to register on the EVDS without delay.”

Phase 2 will run concurrently with Phase 1, which prioritises the vaccination of approximately 1.2 million healthcare workers (HCW) in both the public and private healthcare sectors.  B4SA calls on all healthcare workers who have not yet registered and been vaccinated, to urgently register via the EVDS system.

Government’s calculation is that the country - across both public and private vaccination sites - will need to vaccinate between 250 000 and 300 000 people per day in Phase 2 to meet the 16.6 million target timeously.

While Government is leading the vaccination programme, business, labour and civil society have all mobilised in support of the national rollout and are coordinating efforts to maximise the efficiency of the roll out.   Working with Government, private sector companies will vaccinate both public and private patients.  B4SA emphasised that no citizen will be denied a vaccine. 

B4SA has re-organised itself to mirror the workstreams in the NDOH so that business support aligns as seamlessly as possible with its Government counterparts and provides integrated support in the design, development and implementation of the vaccine rollout programme, and particularly with regard to the administration of the vaccine. 

B4SA has mobilised business’ capabilities and resources to increase the nation’s vaccination capacity. It has created a specific operationalisation workstream that will build the private sector capacity to vaccinate approximately 163 000 people per day across corporate and independent pharmacies, employer occupational health sites, large scale sites developed by medical schemes, GPs, private hospitals, and mass vaccination sites. This is being done in close cooperation with, and under the leadership of the National Department of Health.

Kingston says, “B4SA is capacitated with over 100 senior volunteers from leading healthcare and professional services companies who are working to assist the national effort. Our volunteers, both individuals and companies, are not paid by B4SA nor do their companies receive brand recognition for their contributions.  B4SA holds no budget and does not procure services.”

Kingston stressed the need for all stakeholders to work together in communicating the benefits of being vaccinated as quickly as possible, and is especially grateful for the support of the Solidarity Fund in this regard.  

“Covid-19 is a national challenge, not simply a challenge to Government or business or even individuals. However, it continues to have a devastating effect on us, both individually and collectively.  We know we are just at the beginning of a massive national effort. Not everything will be smooth sailing as we are building and improving this capacity as we go, but we are committed to addressing any issues quickly and collaboratively. Everyone will need to play their part. We are confident that we can defeat this once in a century health crisis and reach our national goal of 40 million vaccinations by February 2022.”

“Together we are stronger. We will move faster, further, and more fairly, if we move together as a nation to achieve the goal of vaccinating as many people as quickly as possible with the objective of vaccinating the majority, if not all of the adult population, by the first quarter of next year, if not before.  By harnessing all the energy, expertise and commitment in South Africa, we will save lives and rebuild livelihoods,” concludes Kingston.