Lee Callakoppen, Principal Officer of Bonitas Medical Fund
The first of Bonitas Medical Fund’s 30 planned vaccinations sites opened in Roodepoort, Gauteng last week, from which the Fund anticipates initially administering approximately 440 vaccines per day. This was followed by Centurion and during the coming weeks we will be phasing in the rest of the of the 28 sites across all nine provinces. All our sites are subject to accreditation and the number of vaccinations administered will be dependent on how many we receive from the Department of Health (DoH).
‘As the transition into winter overlaps with the third wave of COVID-19, keeping our members and all South Africans safe and healthy is one of our key objectives. Only 1.6 million people are currently registered on the Electronic Vaccination Database (EVD), so we strongly encourage everyone aged 60 and over to register for the COVID-19 vaccine. Those under 60, can do their part by helping older members of their families and communities to register.
Register for the vaccine if you are over 60 years of age
You can register in one of these ways:
- Visit https://vaccine.enroll.health.gov.za/#/ and follow the prompts
- Dial *134*832# on your cell phone and follow the prompts, or
- WhatsApp the word REGISTER to 0600 123456 and follow the prompts
Make a note of your registration token
Based on your registration details, the DoH will issue you with your unique token when it is your turn to be vaccinated. Without this token, you won’t be eligible for vaccination, so please keep it safe. You will also need to take your ID document or passport with you to the vaccination site. If you belong to a medical aid, you should also take your medical aid card with you.
Over 3 300 sites have been identified
These are located at convenient sites countrywide including selected Bonitas facilities which have been accredited to be set up as private vaccination centres. This will ease access for our ‘at risk’ population and provide a broader footprint, including remote areas of the country.
The DoH will allocate a vaccination site to you during the process.
If you have already registered, you will receive more details soon
This includes SMSs outlining your scheduled vaccination day, time and site close to your home or work. Remember, there are still over 700 000 healthcare workers who need to be vaccinated as a priority, so the scale-up will be gradual over the next one to two weeks. Please do not go to a site before you are invited to do so via SMS.
How will the vaccination help?
Vaccinating many people as soon as possible is critical to minimising the impact of COVID-19.
Those vaccinated have a reduced chance of infection and should be protected against serious complications, which means less hospitalisations and fewer deaths. It has not yet been established whether the vaccine can prevent you from infecting other people, this means it remains important to continue to follow the protocols of mask wearing, social distancing and hand hygiene.
It is also important that you ensure you receive the full vaccination course if the course is two vaccines. The second vaccine is scheduled for approximately three months after the first.
Striving for herd immunity
Herd immunity is achieved when a large part of the population becomes immune to a virus, through vaccination or infection. South Africa’s DoH is aiming to vaccinate 67% of the country’s population against COVID-19 – this equates to around 41 million people. It is hoped that this will achieve herd immunity and slow down the rate of transmission of the virus.
Who pays for the vaccine?
The vaccine is a Prescribed Minimum Benefit (PMB) which means medical aid schemes must pay for the vaccine, in full. This includes the vaccine itself and delivery thereof to members and beneficiaries. You will not be asked to pay for the vaccine, it will be billed to your medical aid.
Please stay safe
Continue to wear your mask, wash your hands frequently and practise social distancing to reduce your risk of contracting COVID-19. We’ve noted an increase in cases particularly in Gauteng, Free State and the Eastern Cape. Be sure to avoid crowds, confined spaces and close contact to prevent infection.