You wouldn’t expect an internet connection to be the primary resource needed to help rural, underserved communities gain access to COVID-19 vaccines.
Generally, they just need nurses, some needles and a few bottles filled by Phizer, right? Wrong. Because in South Africa, citizens need access to the internet to register via the government’s EVDS platform before they can receive the coveted jab.
The perfect vaccine duo
A new partnership between satellite internet service provider Eutelsat and the pharma company Aspen is pushing for increased vaccinations in Mpumalanga. The province is facing the challenge of vaccinating mainly rural municipalities with little to no infrastructure.
The plan is to roll out high-speed broadband to assist with that. Eutelsat’s been installing the infrastructure for internet connectivity in the province, establishing internet access at thirteen vaccination centres in the area.
“Eutelsat’s Konnect satellite broadband connects DoH’s electronic vaccination data system (“EVDS”) which pre-registers, admits and discharges vaccination clients at the vaccination centre,” a press release details.
Increased internet coverage will help streamline the vaccination process in the province, helping senior citizens, people with comorbidities and, most recently, any person over the age of 35.