South Africa will now offer Covid-19 vaccines to some people under 50 – what you should know

Update: The department has retracted the circular.


The Department of Health says it will offer Covid-19 vaccines to some South Africans even if they don’t meet the current criteria of being aged 50 years or older.

In a circular published this week, the department said the following individuals and groups will be considered eligible for vaccination outside of the vaccine roll-out eligibility criteria:

  • Ministers, deputy ministers, premiers and MECs, as well their direct staff.
  • Individuals where vaccination is requested by the presidency, the minister of health or the director-general of health.
  • South African diplomats and their families who are posted overseas  – during visits to South Africa.
  • Individuals who have received one dose of Pfizer vaccine outside of South Africa more than 42 days ago will be eligible to receive a second dose of the vaccine.
  • Individuals who need to travel outside of South Africa.

The department said that travel for the following reasons will be considered:

  • Business or work-related travel;
  • Study at an accredited educational institution;
  • Sportsmen/women who need to travel outside of South Africa to represent the country;
  • Accessing medical care.

How to apply

The department said that requests should be submitted by email to [email protected] using the attached form.

“Submission of documents supporting an individual’s application for vaccination may be requested and must be submitted before the application will be approved.

“This documentation may include (but is not limited to): visa, work or study permit for the country to which individual is travelling, a letter from employer, the institution of study or sports federation, an affidavit signed by a commissioner of oaths.”

Embassy staff based in South Africa, as well as individuals working for United Nations and other international agencies, will be vaccinated in line with the national vaccination programme eligibility criteria.

However, these individuals will receive priority, and their vaccination will be expedited, it said.

“All (those seeking vaccination) will need to be registered on the Electronic Vaccine Data System (EVDS). Individuals who are eligible to be vaccinated should register themselves on the EVDS.

“Following registration, individuals should submit their details and request for prioritisation using the attached form to [email protected]

The department said that individuals who are not yet eligible to register on EVDS must submit their details and request using the attached form together with any required documentation to [email protected]

The department said that the criteria outlined above will be reviewed and updated on a regular basis.


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South Africa will now offer Covid-19 vaccines to some people under 50 – what you should know