Adrian Gore shares key insights about Phase 2 of the country's mass COVID-19 Vaccination Programme. Find out more about vaccine doses secured for South Africa to date, priority groups in Phase 2 of the rollout, how to register on the Discovery COVID-19 Vaccination Portal and more!
Phase 2 of the country's mass COVID-19 Vaccination Programme kicked off successfully on 17 May
"Phase 2 marks a significant turning point in the battle against COVID-19, as implementation ramps up in the pursuit of scale," said Discovery Group Chief Executive, Adrian Gore, in a recent statement. "The Government-led process is on track to achieve what it set out to do - start in mid-May, vaccinate people over 60 years old by mid-winter, and vaccinate the rest of the population during 2021."
"Moving into Phase 2 will result in thousands of lives being saved and is critical to building the economy. The faster we can roll out the vaccines, the quicker we can realise these benefits. We all need to choose vaccination."
Here's what you need to know about the current status of our national vaccine rollout
- The country has secured a total of 62 million doses of vaccines (31 million of the two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and 31 million of the single-dose J&J vaccine).
- These doses are enough to vaccinate 42 million people.
- Delivery of these doses is spread over the year, accelerating in the third and fourth quarters.
In terms of Phase 2 (which kicked off on 17 May):
- Enough stock has been secured to deliver 6.5 million doses to people by the end of June.
- There is no anticipated shortage of supply. Reaching vulnerable groups by the end of July is achievable.
- Vaccine deliveries have been underway to 87 approved vaccination sites across the public and private sectors.
- Sites will be expanded over time to 3 000 sites at the peak of the rollout during July and August.
Who is prioritised for vaccination in phase 2?
Over five million citizens - including the elderly (those over 60 years of age and those living in congregate settings, for example, retirement villages and nursing homes) and approximately 700 000 healthcare workers who were not vaccinated in Phase 1 - are now eligible for vaccination in Phase 2 of the national vaccination rollout.
- Phase 1 was run as a clinical trial (the Sisonke trial) through which 480 000 healthcare workers were vaccinated. This trial ended on 15 May, ahead of the transition to Phase 2 on 17 May.
If you're eligible to be vaccinated in Phase 2, here's what you need to do
All you need to do to ensure that you can get your COVID-19 vaccine is to register on Discovery's COVID-19 Vaccination Portal. By registering on Discovery's COVID-19 Vaccination Portal you will automatically be registered on the national Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS) to make the process easier for you.
Once you're registered we will support you with all the information you need at every step of your vaccination journey.
"Remember, there are still over 700 000 healthcare workers who need to be vaccinated as the priority, so the scale up will be gradual over the next one to two weeks," adds Adrian. "Please do not go to a site before you are invited to do so via SMS. If you are younger than 60 years of age, assist those in your community to register as per above, and await further communication on your specific eligibility."
How Discovery is supporting the country's mass COVID-19 Vaccination Programme
"Discovery is setting up several vaccination sites to support the mass COVID-19 Vaccination Programme, and to assist Discovery clients and members of our administered schemes to access vaccinations," says Adrian. "These sites will be operated by Discovery Health and will be set up in a phased approach, ultimately resulting in more than 20 sites across the country. Our head office, 1 Discovery Place in Sandton, is one of these sites. It will be run on a booking-only basis, with a valid vaccine code received by SMS from the Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS)."
How is the cost of your COVID-19 vaccine covered?
"Vaccination is free at the vaccination site for every South African resident," says Adrian. "For medical scheme members, the costs of vaccines and vaccination will be funded by their medical scheme, with no impact to your medical savings accounts and available benefits."
"Let's do all we can to prevent a third wave of infection"
"Nationally, weekly excess deaths remain at just over 1 000 more than in pre-pandemic times. In recent weeks, we have seen surges of infections in several provinces, including Gauteng, the Northern Cape, Free State and the North West."
Research shows that COVID-19 is an airborne disease and the highest exposure for disease transmission is indoors, in crowded places, and particularly where there is poor ventilation. "This is a significant risk as we move into winter when people prefer to huddle indoors. The best way to mitigate this risk is to opt for outdoor gatherings, keep windows and doors open when indoors, ensure socially distanced get-togethers, and particularly, wear a mask at all times," adds Adrian.
"The risk of a third wave developing remains high. If we remain vigilant and achieve widespread vaccination, many deaths can be prevented."
Adrian affirms Discovery's commitment to doing everything possible to assist in making sure that the mass COVID-19 Vaccination Programme is successful for all South Africans. "This is a key lesson we have learned globally - population immunity is critical to our collective wellbeing. In conclusion, I want to reiterate our commitment to making the rollout successful and to getting our members vaccinated as soon as possible. Little is more important right now."