A pensioner receives assistance from a provincial health department official with the EVDS registration. Picture supplied.
A pensioner receives assistance from a provincial health department official with the EVDS registration. Picture supplied.

Authorities scramble to control vaccine queue jumping in the Western Cape

By Mwangi Githahu Time of article published May 25, 2021

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Cape Town - Health authorities are scrambling to avoid queue jumping and manage age sequencing for the Covid-19 vaccine on the Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS).

This comes after a number of reports on social media that people under the age of 30 are able to register for the Covid-19 vaccine, with some even getting appointment dates for their jabs, although the vaccines are meant at present to be restricted to the over-60s.

A report doing the rounds on social media claims that one person aged under 30 had simply registered on both the Discovery Health Medical Scheme (DHMS) portal as well as on the Department of Health’s EVDS portal, after which they received their SMS to go for a vaccine.

Reached for comment on this particular incident, DHMS spokesperson Karishma Jivan said the company was working with the the Department of Health to identify perpetrators and to close the loophole.

“Discovery is aware of incidents where young people who are ineligible for vaccination have been vaccinated. It appears that these individuals are non-health-care workers who have abused the EVDS system by inappropriately registering for vaccination as health-care workers.

“We have raised concerns in this regard with the department and strongly discourage anyone who does not fit the criteria from attempting to register on EVDS.

“Effective today (Monday), all those under 60 arriving for vaccination at the 1 Discovery Place vaccination site will be asked to produce proof that they are a health-care worker, failing which they will be turned away.”

Dr Keith Cloete, provincial head of the health department, said that the system for health care worker registrations closed at midnight on Sunday, which is the portal people used to sign up dishonestly.

“These are all people that were misrepresenting themselves as ’healthcare workers’, as the system could be manipulated. We are very disappointed that people did this, as they are denying access to vaccines and appointment slots for people over 60 yrs, who need the vaccines desperately.

“We will put measures in place to bar people who have registered via this route, and have not yet been vaccinated, from receiving vaccinations,” Dr Cloete said.

“We urge everyone to respect the right of people over 60 years old to be vaccinated as quickly as possible.”

On how the system is meant to work, Bonitas medical fund principal officer Lee Callakoppen said: “Based on your registration details, the Department of Health will issue you with your unique token when it is your turn to be vaccinated. Without this token, you won't be eligible for vaccination, so please keep it safe.

“You will also need to take your ID document or passport with you to the vaccination site. If you belong to a medical aid, you should also take your medical aid card with you.”

However health portfolio committee member Haseena Ismail (DA) said: “The EVDS system that is responsible for registering individuals to get the vaccine is riddled with system errors. This is the main tool leading the vaccine roll-out and with such failures, it will cause even more delays and confusion.”

According to the latest statistics from the provincial health dashboard, by 5pm on Sunday, the province had administered 9 241 vaccines in the Phase 1 B and Phase 2 roll-out, which this means that altogether 102 394 people in the province have been vaccinated.

Premier Alan Winde reassured residents that as part of the provincial scale-up approach, more vaccination sites would be coming online to enable more vaccinations a day.

“This is being done as more vaccines arrive in the province. While this has not happened immediately on day one, I can reassure our residents that there will be a site coming online near you, and soon.”

* Additional reporting by Theolin Tembo.

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Cape Argus

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