How will Discovery vaccinate its members?

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JOHANNESBURG – Discovery Heath CEO Ryan Noach said on Tuesday that medical schemes were working closely with government to come up with plans to subsidise about 30% of the population for coronavirus vaccination once the jabs became available.

The private medical health scheme announced last month that it would fund a COVID-19 vaccine for two million of its members.

Noach explained how the funding from the private medical scheme would work, and that some money would be used to assist those who could not afford it.

“Medical aid schemes will pay a slightly higher price for the vaccine than the cost price. Through the payment’s higher price through a central procurement hub, probably administered by someone like the Solidarity Fund, the surplus that’s generated will be used to subside that fee for members of the public who don’t have medical scheme cover as well.”

On Sunday, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said government was speaking to the private sector to help fund a vaccine for South Africans. Mkhize said the country would need to vaccinate 40 million people to ensure herd immunity.

But experts warned it was an overly ambitious plan, given that over 100,000 people would need to be innoculated every day.

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) said government should be more transparent and should give exact timelines for the vaccine roll-out plan.

“We need to be two steps ahead of everything. We don’t want to react to things – we want to have a plan in place to show we care about our people. So we don’t want to react as and when things happen. Let’s plan ahead so that we don’t have surprises,” said spokesperson Khaya Xaba.

Xaba said now was the time for government to plan ahead to ensure South Africans were vaccinated.

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