COVID-19 vaccination updates

After over a year of social distancing, President Cyril Ramaphosa’s unveiling of the massive COVID-19 vaccination rollout has brought the end of the pandemic within sight. Despite the setback associated with the ineffectiveness of the Oxford/Astrazeneca shot against the South African variant of the virus, the rollout plan is back on track.

Along with Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine, South Africa will be distributing the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine to inoculate the population. The plan is for the vaccines to be administered in phases. This approach will help ensure that the most vulnerable members of the population will be vaccinated first.

Phase 1. The first phase is currently underway and aims to vaccinate healthcare workers.

Phase 2. Vaccination efforts in this phase will mainly be directed towards individuals over 60 years and people over 18 with comorbidities.

Phase 3. Vaccination efforts in this phase will be focused on inoculating the rest of the population and is scheduled to start in October 2021.

Ideally, the goal is to have the high-risk groups of the population vaccinated by mid-winter. This would translate into having more or less 30 million adults in South Africa vaccinated before the end of the year with a complete rollout expected by February 2022.

Registering for the Vaccination

In preparation for rollout, the Ministry of Health opened an online registration platform on the Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS). This web-based application can be accessed from multiple devices, including smartphones and computers. Currently, registration is open to individuals aged 60 years and above and those who have existing chronic illnesses (comorbidities) and are aged 18 years and older.

You will need your ID number or passport number to register on the EVDS. If you have medical aid, in addition to your ID or passport number, you will need your Scheme name, membership number, and residential and postal address.

Some Medical Schemes have already started preparations for registering their members and have particular procedures. For example, while certain Medical Schemes instruct their clients to register for the vaccination on the Government platform, Discovery is encouraging members to register on both the Government platform and on the Discovery Website / App.

In addition to self-registration, the Government will offer assisted registration, which caters for individuals who do not have access to electronic registration and can go to walk-in centres and specific vaccination sites for registration.

Where do you go to get Vaccinated?

To achieve the national vaccination target, various Medical Schemes will be assisting the Government in optimising rollout efficiency and speed. Vaccines will be offered at designated public and private vaccination centres countrywide. Accredited vaccination sites include GP practices, hospitals, large-scale vaccination sites, and familiar pharmacies (i.e., Clicks, Dis-chem, Netcare, Mediclinic, PicknPay pharmacy, among many more). Together, the various vaccination sites are designed to deliver 40 000 vaccinations per day when they run at full capacity!

Once you successfully register, you will receive a confirmation via SMS. A follow-up SMS will then be sent stipulating the date, time, and location for your vaccination. You will then need to present your identity document (ID, driver license) and membership card for those who have Medical Aid when you get vaccinated.

How much will the Vaccination Cost?

The cost of the vaccination at these accredited vaccination sites will be covered in full for members of a Medical Scheme. Individuals who are not a member of a Medical Scheme will be allocated to one of these sites by the National Department of Health. The cost of their vaccination will be covered in full by the South African Government.

For any concerns or further information, contact a PBA Financial Adviser. We will continue to engage with each Insurance company and keep our clients up-to-date with any changes in the Medical Schemes’ registration procedures.

As always, we urge our clients to stay safe, sanitise, wear your mask, and continue to practice social distancing.

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