Business for South Africa (B4SA), which is co-ordinating the private sector’s work with government to roll out the national vaccination programme, has confirmed that all private sector vaccination sites across the country are accepting walk-ins from anyone currently eligible for vaccination against Covid-19 (those 35 years of age and above), regardless of whether they are insured or uninsured. In a press release, the business body said sites would accept anyone for vaccination who has an ID, passport or other form of identification, regardless of their nationality.
These sites include both independent community pharmacies and corporate pharmacy chains (such as Dis-Chem and Clicks), private hospitals and medical scheme vaccination sites. (Workplace sites are currently vaccinating their staff and are not yet open to the public).
B4SA also confirmed that while sites will prioritise those with scheduled appointments and those older than 60, 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. However, to save time and prevent a long wait in queues, the public are encouraged to pre-register on the EVDS at https://vaccine.enroll.health.gov.za/#/ before visiting a site for vaccination.
Stavros Nicolaou, chair of the health work group for B4SA says: “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. 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.”
Nicolaou said it did help when people pre-registered on the EVDS, and used the appointment schedulers available to book their slot. “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 in to your nearest site if this is more convenient.”
The evidence on how effective Covid-19 vaccines are in preventing severe illness and death, is clear. 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. 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-19 high care ward for weeks.
Power with you
Nicolaou says: “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 again being able to do the things we love. 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.”
A full list of private sector vaccination sites, by province, with addresses and telephone numbers
The full public (government) and private sector list of vaccination sites can be found here