Vaccination of uninsured people against Covid-19: B4SA Statement
B4SA welcomes the utilisation of private capacity to vaccinate uninsured people, the recent rapid increase in vaccinations, and the opening of EVDS registrations to over 50s.
Martin Kingston, chairman of the B4SA steering committee says, “We are also very pleased the Department of Health has agreed that the country will increasingly take advantage of the growing number of private sector sites by directing and permitting uninsured people to be vaccinated there. This means that as a country we will use the increased supply of vaccines more effectively, and rapidly increase the number of people protected.”
Kingston called on all over 50s to register as soon as possible, and for everyone to help the over 50s they know to register. “Registration is necessary for people to be vaccinated. Registration helps the Department of Health to allocate people to a site near them, it helps them to manage the stock of vaccines, it allows them to remind people of their second jab, and allows the department to monitor for adverse effects.”
According to Kingston, the national vaccination programme is gathering pace. “We are starting to make substantial inroads,” he says. “The rate at which people over 60 and now teachers are being vaccinated is rising fast. On average, we are now over administering of 100 000 vaccinations daily. This week over 100 000 educators were jabbed in just two days. This is a vast improvement on the average 32 000 vaccinations per day in the first week of Phase 2 in mid-May. More than 2.5m people have now received a vaccination.”
More vaccination capacity is being brought online almost every day at both public, private and workplace sites across the country. This week there were 101 private and 143 public sector sites and operational and available to administer the vaccine. In the next week we expect to bring an additional 19 workplace sites online and there are many hundreds more in the approval pipeline.
However, South Africa remains in a periodically vaccine-constrained environment and is dependent on delivery by the manufacturers. “We welcome the arrival of short-dated J&J stock now used for educators and other workers,” says Kingston, “but caution that vaccine supply remains unpredictable and periodically constrained. We will soon start to use Pfizer stock for people’s second doses, which will increase demand on our stocks.”
According to Kingston, any supply constraints may impact on the rollout of many of the planned new vaccination sites. “We need a concerted effort to secure more vaccines from multiple sources,” he says. “Covid-19 is a national challenge requiring a collaborative national effort. We welcome the unprecedented levels of public and private collaboration between Government, the private sector, and our other social partners.”
“We need to be clear,” says Kingston. “The national government creates policy, it purchases the vaccines and it leads on the administration and oversight of the national rollout. As the private sector, we stand ready to vaccinate as many South Africans as we can under its leadership. We are here to help, to support in any way we can – and right now that must be to build more vaccination capacity and support the national rollout strategy.”
While Government provides policy and administrative and political leadership, all sections of South African society – labour, business, civil society, the Solidarity Fund, and faith-based organisations – have mobilised to support the vaccination programme. Businesses across the country are providing assistance on the ground and leveraging their brands, networks, and infrastructure to drive registrations and provide vaccine education.
“Getting as many people as possible vaccinated is the single most important priority for our country right now,” says Kingston. “Each person vaccinated brings South Africa one step closer to herd immunity. With the third wave upon us and hospitals nearing capacity, we also need every person to continue to wear masks, sanitise, and maintain social distancing.”
“By harnessing all the energy, expertise, and commitment of all South Africans, we will both save lives and rebuild livelihoods.”
B4SA will continue to support government to expand approved vaccination sites for the public and workers.
B4SA is pleased more uninsured people will be vaccinated, using increasing private capacity.
B4SA notes that the ramp-up of capacity is dependent on delivery from vaccine manufacturers.
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