MEDIA STATEMENT

 To: Editors & Health Journalists
Issued by: Department of Health
Date: Thursday, 18 November 2021

 

Vooma Vaccination Vouchers extended to people aged 50+

 

Pretoria: The National Department of Health has extended the offer of R100 grocery vouchers for first dose vaccinations to people in their fifties, as of 18 November 2021.

Previously, these vouchers were only available to people aged 60 and above.

The purpose of the vouchers – dubbed ‘Vooma Vouchers’ – is to make it easier for older people to get vaccinated by offsetting some of the costs they incur getting to the vaccination sites.

The Department of Health’s immediate priority is to vaccinate as many people aged fifty years and older ahead of the anticipated 4th wave, because over 80% of Covid-19 related deaths have occurred in this age group.

Three in five people aged 50 years and older have had at least one dose of vaccination and reaching most of the remainder will substantially reduce the number of hospitalisations and deaths over the festive period and into the new year.

The National Department of Health announced that, during the month of November, R100 Vooma Vouchers redeemable at the Shoprite group of food retailers would be offered to people aged 60 and older.

This pilot was to gauge the potential effect of small, guaranteed incentives to encourage people to vaccinate – especially those for whom travel and related costs might be a barrier.

“Unfortunately, the uptake of Vooma Vouchers among has been poor, with only 8,135 redeemed to date. We have also not seen a significant uptick in vaccinations among over sixties”, says Dr David Harrison, national lead for demand acceleration.

“We are trying to understand the reasons for this slow uptake. We are only two weeks in and it may be that the message takes time to filter down to everyone. But we don’t have the luxury of time with the fourth wave approaching and must adapt our strategy quickly if it doesn’t seem to be having the desired effect,” he added.

“The voucher is intended to assist people to access the vaccine, which has far greater value than the amount of the value itself,” says Dr Harrison. “For older people in particular, vaccination may determine whether families spend their festive season visiting relatives in hospital or even attending funerals”.

Already almost two-thirds of people over 60 years have been vaccinated, and the remaining third may be particularly hard to reach or to persuade. For this reason, the Department plans to test the expansion of the offer to people in their fifties as well.

There are still over 4 million people aged fifty and older who have not been vaccinated, and it is hoped that extending this offer will enable a substantial proportion of them to come forward.

 

For media enquiries, please contact:
Mr Foster Mohale
National Health Department Cell: 0724323792
foster.mohale@health.gov.za