South Africa has started COVID-19 vaccinations following the suspension of an earlier plan to use the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.
South Africa is using the Johnson & Johnson vaccine which is administered as a single dose. The country has received 80,000 doses of this vaccine, which has been shown to be effective against the variant of the virus first identified late 2019.
President Cyril Ramaphosa reported that the country has secured nine million doses in total, with more doses expected to be delivered.
The Council for Medical Schemes (CMS) has added the COVID-19 vaccine to its list of Prescribed Minimum Benefits (PMBs).
Bestmed, as a registered medical scheme, is a health insurer and funder, and not a procurer or provider of healthcare services. Therefore, Bestmed cannot adopt an internal prioritisation plan based on, for example, benefit option and/or health status for granting of benefits to beneficiaries. We will abide by the NDoH’s prioritisation plan for the allocation of vaccines.
Accreditation is required for private providers to administer the vaccines and Bestmed will fund the vaccination cost at any of these accredited providers. Vaccinations will be allocated to various priority groups for administration of the vaccines.
- Phase I – Healthcare workers: doctors, pharmacists, and allied healthcare workers on the front line are expected to start being vaccinated early February 2021.
- Phase II – Essential workers, persons in congregate setting, persons older than 60 years, and persons older than 18 years with co-morbidities.
- Phase III – Other persons older than 18 years.
NDoH is co-ordinating the involvement of the private healthcare Sector in the drive to achieve herd immunity for the country i.e. vaccinating around 40 million South Africans. The involvement of private healthcare sector is through the CMS and the two major industry associations namely, Health Funders Association (HFA) and Board of Healthcare Funders (BHF). Bestmed is participating in this process through the industry associations to ensure that the interests of the Scheme and members are protected.
In conclusion, Bestmed will work within guidelines set out by the NDoH and CMS to ensure that the vaccine is available to our members and accordingly be covered as a PMB.