Government will use an electronic system to keep track of everyone who gets the COVID-19 vaccine as South Africa gears up for its historical mass vaccination.

The Department of Health’s Acting Chief Operating Officer (COO), Milani Wolmarans, said the Electronic Vaccine Data System (EVDS), will allow the department to capture all relevant data associated with the administration of the vaccine.

“The system is a data-secure platform built with an enterprise architecture that complies with national and international security standards,” Wolmarans explained.

The COO announced this during a public health webinar chaired by Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize, on COVID-19 vaccine inoculation on Wednesday.

Mkhize confirmed that the first consignment of one million COVID-19 vaccines is expected to land on South African shores on Monday, 1 February 2020.

According to Wolmarans, the department will start enrolling healthcare workers for vaccination via an online app.

This will be followed by another step where essential workers will receive a message with a scheduled appointment.

“The healthcare worker vaccinee, in this case for phase one, will then go to the vaccination site with their ID book and medical aid details if they’re on medical aid,” she said.

“They will also receive an SMS which will have a vaccination code, which they will show to the vaccinator to confirm they’re eligible to receive the vaccine and confirm consent.”

Also, healthcare professionals will then receive another SMS on when to come back for the second jab after which they will receive a vaccination certification.

“This is the whole process of EVDS in terms of supporting the vaccine administration.”

The acting COO said the system is linked to supply chain management to ensure that there are enough doses to inoculate the vaccinees when they arrive at the local vaccination service site.

The department will also launch an online vaccine self-registration aimed at healthcare workers that can be accessed via a cellphone or computer.

“It captures basic information to assign you or tell you which vaccination site to go as well as on which date to go,” she said.

“If you register on this platform, you’ll get an appointment.”

Wolmarans is urging all clinical and non-clinical healthcare workers from both the public and private sectors to register online.

“This will allow us to communicate with you when and where you can receive your vaccine,” she added.

She said the department will embark on extensive communication to inform these essential workers as soon as the portal is ready to go live.