Medical aid members won't be given priority in the queue for Covid-19 jab
Medical aid members won't be given priority in the queue for Covid-19 vaccine ahead of uninsured patients, once the country's mass vaccination rollout gets underway in May.
That's according to Ron Whelan, the Chief Commercial Officer at Discovery Health, who says the medical aid scheme will be working alongside government to ensure a smooth rollout of the vaccination programme.
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced that phase two of the vaccination programme will begin on 17 May, after that the country secured 51 million jabs from various drug makers.
31 million jabs are from Johnson & Johnson, while 20 million will come from Pfizer, with the aim of vaccinating 41 million people.
Discovery is the biggest private medical aid provider in South Africa, while GEMS (Government Employee Medical Scheme) is the biggest medical aid scheme in the country.
Speaking to CapeTalk Afternoon Drive presenter John Maytham, Whelan says as a medical aid scheme they have to work in tandem with government to inoculate as many people during phase two.
This is a national effort. It's not the private sector on one side, and the public sector on the other side. We're all as South Africans going to be in the same queue in terms of vaccinations. And there's a simple reason for that because we need to drive towards population level immunity. None of us are safe until we're all safe.Ron Whelan - Chief Commercial Officer at Discovery Health
Whelan emphasised that medical aid members will not get first option when it comes to receiving the jab.
There's no real differentiation between public and private, no real differentiation between medical aid and non-medical aid, in so far as the prioritisation and access of vaccinations. There are obviously differences in terms of the funding, but the actual prioritisation and access is the same.Ron Whelan - Chief Commercial Officer at Discovery Health
Whelan says as Discovery Health, they are in agreement with government's phase two vaccination rollout criteria, with the plan to inoculate people over the age of 60 first.
We think that's a very logical decision. Our elderly population are most at risk of Covid. If you're over the age of 70, you've got a 50-60% chance of being admitted to hospital, and we certainly see the higher mortality rates in those age groups. So a very clear, clinical criteria and rationale for vaccinating the elderly first.Ron Whelan - Chief Commercial Officer at Discovery Health
Listen to the audio of the interview below
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