Discovery says everything in place to give 3 million members Covid-19 jabs ... 'depending on vaccine supply'

Discovery CEO Adrian Gore said the scheme planned to vaccinate 3 million adult beneficiaries of Discovery-administered schemes, and would be ready to launch the programme on May 1 — if vaccine supply allowed

26 March 2021 - 22:37
Discovery medical aid has outlined its bold plans on how it will roll out the vaccination to its members.
Discovery medical aid has outlined its bold plans on how it will roll out the vaccination to its members.
Image: Breadcrumbs

Medical aid giant Discovery says it is ready to vaccinate as many as 50,000 people a day, as it outlined bold plans on how it will administer the Covid-19 shot to its members.

It said it hoped to vaccinate its 550,000 high-risk members “within weeks” of the vaccine becoming available.

To achieve this, CEO Adrian Gore said in a communique on Friday Discovery will be deploying in excess of 500 people and spending significant capital to, among other things, establish 20 large-scale vaccination sites.

Gore said the medical aid planned to vaccinate between 40,000 and 50,000 daily — “depending on the vaccine supply”.

“At Discovery, we are making an unprecedented financial and human capital investment in our own mass vaccination programme. The aim is to vaccinate three million adult beneficiaries of Discovery-administered schemes quickly and efficiently,” he said.

Gore said Discovery was ready to to vaccinate its members in high volumes when the supply of vaccines becomes available from the health department.

So far, he said they had identified members at highest risk who would be prioritised.

“Our segmentation approach is aligned with the national prioritisation framework, as guided by the ministerial advisory committee. Simply, this means that we know exactly who should receive the vaccine first, and we will communicate quickly with our scheme members to confirm their place in the rollout, contingent on vaccine supply,” Gore explained.

They plan to vaccinate 3 million adult beneficiaries of Discovery-administered schemes, and will be ready to launch the programme on May 1. This would be guided by the cabinet’s start date for private sector vaccination, and if vaccine supply allowed, Gore said.

“We have undertaken a considerable amount of actuarial and epidemiological modelling, and the implications are clear: in an ideal scenario, we should aim to vaccinate all high-risk groups by the end of June, including people over the age of 60 years and people living with multiple co-morbidities.

“The cabinet plan aims to achieve this, including essential workers, by latest October 2021. We will push hard as a combined public and private sector distribution initiative to achieve this sooner; and given the skewness in allocation of doses towards the third and fourth quarter of the year, those at highest risk will be prioritised for vaccination by July. This would mean reaching the targeted population herd immunity threshold of 29 million adults vaccinated in SA before the end of the year.

“This would help realise meaningful health and economic outcomes, and avoid many preventable Covid-related deaths,” he said.

He said that the medical aid was also developing a dedicated digital portal to assist with the vaccination programme, which would work alongside and in support of the department of health’s National Electronic Vaccine Distribution System (EVDS). This would allow for booking, appointment management, identification on arrival, tracking and reminders for second doses, and follow-up.

Those who qualify to receive the vaccine, will be contacted by the medical aid.

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