Thursday, 15 July 2021 11:48

Staff Reporter.

The Health Department has officially opened the vaccine registration system to allow people aged 35 and above to register to get their COVID-19 vaccine from 1 August, as announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

According to the department, the national vaccination programme continues across the country, despite violent protests, which resulted in the temporary closure of some sites in violence-struck areas.

The department has encouraged those who are eligible to sign up in their numbers on the Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS).

In addition, technology-savvy people are urged to prioritise other methods of vaccine registration, including using the COVID-19 Call Centre on 0800 029 999, WhatsApp 0600 123 56 and by dialling *134*832# to avoid congestion and long waiting queues at vaccination sites.

"People over 50 years can walk into vaccine sites with or without appointments to vaccinate," the department said.

The department has, meanwhile, urged all those visiting the vaccination sites, especially senior citizens, to be vigilant of any criminal activities that are intended to derail government's efforts to break the chain of transmission and save lives through the lifesaving COVID-19 vaccine.

"We call upon all law-abiding and patriotic citizens to join hands with government and other sectors to safeguard healthcare facilities, self-sacrificing health workers and medical supplies against the criminal activities of those who want to undermine the law of the country."

The department said it will continuously update the public about the state of the affected healthcare facilities and vaccination sites.

Meanwhile the vaccination rollout programme in the basic education sector came to an end on Wednesday, with more than 500 000 educators and staff having been vaccinated.

However, while the programme has concluded in the sector, those who could not make it to the vaccination sites for various reasons are still able to get vaccinated.

"We urge all our teachers and support staff to get vaccinated so that when schools open, we focus on recovery. We will not have another opportunity to give people time off to go vaccinate when schools open. It is better to do it now before schools reopen," said Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga.

Vaccinations in the sector began on 23 June 2021. The initial target was 582 000.

The department said it is aware that some personnel live and work in areas affected by the current unrest in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.