Media release by Premier Alan Winde on 35+ vaccine registration in the Western Cape

I am so excited to see so many residents in the 35-49 age bracket ( 35+) registering for their COVID-19 vaccine. We have nearly reached 300 000 registrations in just 4 days, and we are fast approaching 1 000 000 registrations in the Western Cape overall. 

Our Department of Health has indicated that the EVDS has already started scheduling vaccinations for this age bracket where there are gaps, and so appointment SMSs will be starting sooner than we initially planned. 

Some residents in this age-bracket have asked me whether they can walk-in already too. 

The simple answer is yes, but there are some complexities which I want to better explain, so that our residents understand why it won’t always be successful at this early stage and why we would prefer you to wait for an appointment if you can.

The Western Cape is trying to manage the limited number of vaccines it has at each site in a fair manner, based on those who are most vulnerable. The best and most objective way to do this is by age.  This is because older residents have a much higher chance of dying if they get infected. This is based on very sound research globally.

We still have registered residents in the 50+ bracket who have yet to receive the first dose of the vaccine, and an even larger proportion in the 60+ bracket, who still need their second dose. But we only have a set number of doses to use each week, and at each site.

To manage this reality, we have introduced a prioritisation system for walk-ins to ensure fairness at our public sites (private sites might operate differently). Those over 60 residents requiring a first or second dose are our top priority in the walk-in queue, as they are at highest risk of hospitalisation and death and find it the most difficult to register online. They will be assisted first. 

We will then assist those walk-ins in the 50 to 59 age bracket who need their first dose, followed by those in the next age bracket, 35 – 49. This means that walk-ins for the 35+ bracket is possible at our public sites, but you might have to wait longer, and we can’t guarantee that you will be helped if the vaccine allocation at the site is used up. An appointment remains the preferred route at this early stage. 

To give you an idea of our capacity, with current supplies given to us, we are currently able to administer about 150 000 vaccinations a week. But this includes second doses, which must be given six weeks after the first dose. Six weeks ago (the week of 31 May - 4 June), the Western Cape vaccinated approximately 70 000 people, who will now also be needing a second dose. We must ensure proper planning for this, so that no one is left behind. 

I am confident that as vaccine supplies increase, and as more people get vaccinated in the over 50  bracket, so the pace in the 35+ bracket will increase rapidly and more walk-ins in this bracket will be helped and quicker. This will become very noticeable in the next few weeks. I am also constantly pushing for more vaccines, and opening more sites, for this very reason.

I want to thank all those 35+ for their patience and understanding, and for being so enthusiastic to get vaccinated. This is exactly what we need to beat the pandemic and save lives and jobs. 

I want to guarantee you that you will get your COVID-19 vaccine, and that you will get it soon. 

For more information, you can also call our contact centre on 0860 142 142, or check our vaccine website, https://coronavirus.westerncape.gov.za/vaccine/