Business for South Africa (B4SA), which is facilitating the private sector’s work with government to ensure a seamless rolling out of the national vaccination programme, has confirmed that all private sector vaccination sites across South Africa are now open to walk-ins from anyone currently eligible for vaccination (those 35 years of age and above), regardless of whether they are insured or uninsured.
B4SA says these sites include both independent community pharmacies and corporate pharmacy chains such as Dis-Chem and Clicks, private hospitals, and medical scheme vaccination sites.
These sites will only accept people with an identification document (ID), passport or other form of identification, irrespective of whether they are a foreign national/non-South African resident.
Stavros Nicoloau, chair of the health work group for B4SA, said: “We have been concerned that people believe that only those with medical aid can visit private sector sites and this is not correct.
“All sites will deliver the same service, for free, to anyone who needs a vaccine,” he added.
“We encourage all citizens above the age of 35, whether registered or not, insured or not, to visit a vaccine site closest to them to receive their life-saving vaccination. The president announced that vaccinations for those over 18 years of age will open on 1 September 2021, and this free service will be available to them too.”
B4SA also confirmed that although the listed sites will give priority to senior citizens and those with scheduled appointments, “no person above the age of 35 is required to pre-register before visiting a site for a vaccination.”
“Private sites are ensuring that staff are equipped and ready to assist people to register once they arrive,” B4SA said in its statements.
The public is, however, urged to pre-register on the Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS) to save time and prevent waiting in long queues.
The public can register here before visiting a site for vaccination.
“It helps the vaccination sites tremendously when people pre-register on the EVDS and use the appointment schedulers that are available to book their slot,” said Nicoloau.
“Bookings can be made on the phone, directly with a site or through the various online scheduling tools that are available.
“But getting the vaccine as soon as you can is the priority, so walk into your nearest site if this is more convenient.”
B4SA noted in its statement that evidence on the effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines in preventing severe illnesses and death is ‘overwhelming’.
“Data from hospitals around the world are showing that there are virtually no vaccinated people in intensive care units or dying from Covid-19. In the US, less than 0.5% of those who die from Covid-19 are vaccinated, while more than 95% of those hospitalised are unvaccinated,” the statement reported.
“This is the same in South Africa. Dr Marc Mendelson, head of Infectious Diseases and HIV Medicine at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, said last week that he has not seen a single vaccinated person in Groote Schuur’s Covid high care ward for weeks.”
In his concluding remarks, Nicolaou said: “We have all been subject to severe disruption in our lives due to the pandemic, lockdowns and restrictions placed on us to guard us against infection. Vaccinating is the single most important tool to once again being able to do the things we love [such as] visiting our places of worship, travelling, attending sporting and cultural events, hugging our loved ones, and socialising. The power to do all of this resides within each of us. Don’t delay, get your jab and encourage and help all those around you to do the same.”
The full public (government) and private sector list of vaccination sites can be found here.
B4SA says it will issue an updated list, which can be viewed on its website, regularly.
Workplace sites are currently vaccinating their staff and are not yet open to the public.
Palesa Mofokeng is a Moneyweb intern.