The country’s two biggest pharmaceutical companies say they are ready to distribute and administer the second phase of the COVID-19 vaccine once they get the go-ahead from the Department of Health.
Dis-Chem and Clicks say they are working closely with the department, through Business for South Africa (B4SA), to get confirmation on how many doses of vaccines are coming and when will they arrive in the country.
Clicks Pharmacy says it is on track for Phase Two, while Dis-Chem says all of its 200+ clinics are on standby.
The two pharmaceutical giants say they are waiting for the temporary ban on the use of Johnson & Johnson vaccine to be lifted. South Africa suspended the use of the vaccinations this month after the United States Food and Drug Administration suspended its rollout due to reported blood clots.
Dis-Chem says they are also awaiting confirmation from government on further procurement of vaccines.
Dis-Chem National Clinic Manager, Lizeth Kruger, says the planning phase has been completed and they have acquired all the necessary freezers and storage space. Dischem is also working with the South African Pharmacy Council.
“All the 400 registered nurses registered with Dis-Chem completed their training for the COVID vaccine and the Johnson & Johnson modules. We are ready, we are just waiting for the final feedback regarding the date; when we going to start and when we are going to get the stock. We have 200 pharmacies and most of them have two clinics manned by a registered nurse, and then we have secured extra facilities to do the volumes. In any retail environment, it’s difficult to do mass vaccinations in store so the CEO worked on extra facilities on the beginning of the year,” says Kruger.
Dis-Chem says they have the capacity to vaccinate 40 000 people a day through their facilities, and have negotiated with shopping malls to open up centres and spaces where they can accommodate people according to the department of health’s regulations.
“But it really depends on how many we can get. There are so many variables at this stage, but that is what we are planning. The view is that medical aid will cover for all medical aid members and government will cover for government patients that are not on the medical aid. But the process exactly how it’s going to play out we are waiting for the final feedback,” says Kruger.
Meanwhile, Clicks pharmacy says it is also ready to support government with phase two of the COVID-19 vaccination rollout once the vaccines arrive.
The company also has cold chain storage and cold chain distribution capability.
Clicks and Dis-Chem to support government with Phase 2 vaccine rollout: