Covid-19 vaccines now available at selected pharmacies
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This week, the country enters phase 2 of the Covid-19 vaccine roll-out programme which will see the elderly and people with comorbidities receiving their jabs.
The government will administer the two-shot Pfizer vaccines at 87 sites across the country until October.
Health-care experts have said that for the government to expeditiously vaccinate two-thirds of a country of 58 million people, it will have to pool resources from the private sector at an unprecedented scale.
The Independent Community Pharmacy Association (ICPA), in collaboration with the Department of Health, is gearing up to offer Covid-19 vaccinations to the public, starting with the over 60s. Two of these pharmacies in Gauteng have been approved to start providing vaccines to health-care workers and 500 more are in the application process.
“Our pharmacies already offer regular immunisation programmes, such as the annual flu vaccination and childhood immunisations,” says Jackie Maimin, chief executive of ICPA. “This means we have established protocols, recording mechanisms and communication channels in place to ensure a streamlined roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine.”
The two pharmacies vaccinating in Gauteng are Ackermans Pharmacy and Eastpark Pharmacy.
“Our pharmacists are well trained and equipped to administer the vaccine and are a source of credible information. People concerned about possible side effects should come in and speak to our pharmacists about the risks and benefits of vaccination. People at risk for blood clots should definitely consider vaccination under medical supervision as Covid-19 infection could be disastrous for them,” said Maimin.
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said that the country planned to vaccinate 40 million people within a year to achieve herd immunity.
He said the vaccine would be administered in 83 public sector sites and four in the private sector. The sites would be published on the government’s coronavirus website, sacoronavirus.co.za, and from Monday, no walk-ins would be accommodated.
Clicks said it has received approval from the health department to offer vaccinations at 47 sites nationally, with a further 520 awaiting approval for registration.
The group’s chief commercial officer, Rachel Wrigglesworth, said Clicks pharmacies were well placed to support the Covid-19 vaccine roll-lout, subject to stock availability.
“Our health-care professionals have received specialist training on handling and administering the Covid-19 vaccine and are ready to administer vaccinations safely in accordance with the health department’s eligibility guidelines.”
Clicks said the cost of the vaccine would be in line with the department’s prescribed guidelines and urged people on medical aids to contact their medical schemes to confirm payment options.
Dis-Chem said it would support the government’s initiative and would start vaccinating health workers and people over 60.
“We are well-positioned to commence with the vaccination roll-out aligned to government time lines, and we have prepared our teams to work at full capacity if supply from the government is consistent,” said Dis-Chem chief executive Ivan Saltzman.
Should government stock be readily available, the group would be able to vaccinate approximately 800 000 people each month, he added.
The company said the elderly must be registered online via the government’s electronic vaccination data system (EVDS) portal to receive a jab.
Dis-chem will not be selling the vaccines but administering the jabs. The administration fee for the vaccine is R70.