Stats SA updates COVID Vulnerability Index to inform vaccination programme

In December 2020, Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) released an innovative online mapping tool showing which communities may be more adversely affected by COVID-19 outbreaks. The South African Covid-19 Vulnerability Index (VIndex) was developed as a way of using the smallest area population data available and incorporating dimensions and indicators to statistically reflect localised risk factors that may contribute to the spread of COVID-19 for each individual against a set criteria being measured.

With the COVID-19 Vaccination Programme having started, Stats SA has updated the VIndex by giving more weight to the indicators related to age, overcrowding, use of chronic mediation and multigenerational households to make it more relevant in identifying communities that should be prioritised during the vaccination rollout.

The use of Census 2011 data allows for the index to be mapped to the smallest possible area, i.e. an enumeration area (EA), which is the smallest geographical area into which the country is divided for Census purposes and contains between 100 to 250 households. Nine provincial dashboards were developed, and the index can be queried at placename and municipality level.

The SACVI could potentially be used to:

  1. Locate vulnerable communities.
  1. Define priority groups and the best methods of communicating to help define a tailored outreach and communication plan.
  1. Assist to plan the location of dispensing sites, especially for the mobile units, and to monitor uptake.


Stats SA is hopeful that the use of this tool will assist the country in prioritising the most vulnerable communities and ensuring that there is adequate access to the vaccine for all.

The Vindex Vaccination dashboard can be accessed here

The Vindex Vaccination dashboard technical report can be accessed here

Mapping vulnerability to COVID-19: access the data story here

The original index can be accessed here