Register for a COVID-19 vaccine in South Africa via WhatsApp or SMS

The National Department of Health has launched COVID-19 vaccine registration portals on WhatsApp, USSD, and SMS in South Africa to allow users to easily book their COVID-19 shot from a mobile phone.

Citizens eligible to register in the country’s phased vaccination rollout currently include persons aged 60 and older and healthcare workers who were not vaccinated in the first phase.

Remaining adults can opt-in to receive a message from government for when registrations will be opened to them.

The Department has outlined the new registration channels as follows:

  • WhatsApp – Send “REGISTER” to the COVID-19 hotline at 0600 123 456.
  • SMS – Dial *134*832* followed by your ID number.
  • USSD – Dial *134*832# and follow the prompts.

Users 60 years and older will be presented with a process similar to the website-based Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS).

On WhatsApp, the user will be required to provide proof of identification in the form of an ID, passport, asylum seeker permit, or refugee permit number.

They will then be asked for their medical aid number, after which they will have to read and accept the EVDS privacy policy.

Once completed, users must submit personal identification data to register for a booking.

The screenshots below show some of the steps in the WhatsApp and USSD processes.

Government first opened online vaccine registrations on 16 April, with only members of the public 60 years and older allowed to register as part of phase 2 of the vaccination.

This follows phase 1 of the rollout which included the vaccination of frontline and healthcare workers from late February.

To date, more than 380,000 South Africans have received the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

In total, South Africa has secured 31 million from Johnsons & Johnson and a further 20 million from Pfizer and BioNTech.

Since the latter requires two shots per individual, the total vaccines will be just enough for the target of 41.5 million people.

Millions more doses of the vaccines are scheduled to arrive in the country over the next few months.

Bhekisisa and Media Hack recently published an infographic which makes it easier for South Africans to understand when they can expect to receive their COVID-19 vaccine.

The most important dates for vaccination of various groups include:

  • 17 May 2021 – Adults 60 years and older can get the vaccine.
  • July 2021 – Adults 40 years and older can start receiving the vaccine.
  • November 2021 – All adults 18 years and older become eligible for the vaccine.

Below is the infographic showing the most important dates for COVID-19 vaccine deliveries and rollout in South Africa.

Vaccine Rollout in South Africa

Now read: COVID-19 third wave imminent – and vaccinations won’t be in time

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Register for a COVID-19 vaccine in South Africa via WhatsApp or SMS