“Vooma Vouchers”: Over 60’s to Get Paid for Vaccinating in SA

Image courtesy of Africa Health.

South Africans over 60 will be paid to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as of Monday 1 November in certain vaccination locations around the country. While launching in a testing phase, the initiative may expand and more people may be eligible for cash in return for taking a jab.

The Department of Health on Friday announced the new “Vooma Vouchers” initiative for people aged 60 and over, the age group most vulnerable to coronavirus. Vooma Vouchers will see over 60’s receive R100 in the form of a Shoprite voucher that can be spent at any Checkers, Usave, or Shoprite store.

According to Business Insider, the vouchers can also be gifted, with the intention being that those not close enough to a store can send it on to family or friends.

The Department has said that the money will be “very nearly automatically paid,” and that after receiving the shot, anyone in the corresponding age group is due to receive an SMS to the number they used to register on the Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS).

After receiving this SMS, the person must then respond via a free SMS themselves and give permission for a Shoprite account to be created for them. They must also provide their ID or passport number.

The vouchers are set to start going out from 4 November, though anyone in the right age group who gets vaccinated from 1 November should receive one. The vouchers are valid for 30 days, and persons will only receive a voucher for their first vaccine dose. Those coming for their second Pfizer dose, for example, are not eligible.

Health Minister Joe Phaahla has said that $1.7-million (R26-million) worth of vouchers will be issued on a first-come-first-served basis, making for 260,000 recipients.

The scheme will run until the end of November, if the vouchers last that long, but the Department hopes to extend the initiative beyond the pilot phase it’s currently in.

Currently, around 62% of women and 64% of men aged 60 and above have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the latest statistics.

South Africa has managed to fully inoculate 30.3% of its total adult population, which amounts to 12.1-million people.

By Luis Monzon
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