Two of South Africa’s largest pharmaceutical groups, Clicks and Dis-chem, have announced plans to offer Covid-19 vaccines through their retail outlets.
Clicks said it has received approval from the National Department of Health (DOH) to offer 47 vaccination sites nationally, with a further 520 awaiting approval for registration.
“Clicks has considerable expertise in the delivery of vaccinations and is proud to support the National Department of Health with vaccinating the nation,” said Clicks chief commercial officer Rachel Wrigglesworth,
“Our healthcare professionals have received specialist training on handling and administering of the Covid-19 vaccine and are ready to administer vaccinations safely in accordance with the DOH eligibility guidelines.”
Wrigglesworth said that Clicks will offer the vaccinations as per the DOH supply, starting with the Pfizer vaccine. The group’s wholesale division United Pharmaceutical Distributors (UPD) will store the Pfizer vaccines and transport them to the selected pharmacies.
Individuals who have registered on the DOH’s Electronic Vaccination Data System’s (EVDS) online portal will receive a text message from EVDS with a unique vaccination voucher for presentation at the vaccination site, along with their ID and medical aid details, if applicable.
Clicks said that vaccinations are free for all South Africans whether they have medical aid or not. For medical scheme members, the costs of vaccines and the vaccination will be funded by their medical scheme.
“The DOH will determine the exact vaccination site and time and communicate this via text message,” Clicks said.
“The cost of the vaccine will be in line with the DOH’s prescribed guidelines. If you are a member of a medical aid, contact your medical scheme to confirm payment options,” it said.
Dis-Chem said it will start to administer between 500 and 600 Pfizer Covid-19 vaccines per site at 11 mass vaccination sites in five provinces from Monday.
In an interview with eNCA, the group’s national head of clinics Lizette Kruger said that Dis-Chem plans to vaccinate around 6,000 people per day at the 11 vaccination sites in Gauteng, Eastern Cape, Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, and Free State.
Each vaccination site will have 12 nursing practitioners to help with the vaccination process.
Dis-Chem said it will expand its operations to 32 mass vaccination sites across the country, depending on the demand.
South Africa will broaden its Covid-19 vaccine rollout to healthcare workers and people over the age of 60 starting Monday (17 May).
The government will start a mass vaccination effort at 87 sites across the country using Pfizer doses administered to frontline healthcare workers and the elderly, health minister Zweli Mkhize said in an online briefing Sunday.
The rollout will start at a slower pace and will be stepped up over the coming days, Mkhize said.
South Africa expects more deliveries of the Pfizer vaccine on Sunday evening, raising the number to 975,780 doses, Bloomberg reported.
Deliveries from Pfizer are expected to rise to about 4.5 million doses by the end of June, with another 2 million doses coming from Johnson & Johnson, Mkhize said.
The government aims to inoculate more than five million senior citizens by the end of June “provided supply of vaccines flow as anticipated,” he said. South Africa expects a final decision on resumption of deliveries of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which were delayed for safety checks, this week.
“The numbers will start fairly slowly over the course of the week and then of course scale up toward the end of the month,” Mkhize said. “This is because we are starting off with a new vaccine that we have never used before.”
With further reporting from Bloomberg.