NATIONAL NEWS - Various pharmacy groups and retailers are ready to help with the distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine after the news on Thursday that vaccines will be available this month.
Dis-Chem will use its drive-thru testing stations to provide vaccine shots as soon as all stores and test sites have received stock, Lizeth Kruger, national clinic manager at Dis-Chem, said.
The number of vaccinations done per day will depend on the availability of stock and nursing practitioners.
“There will be costs involved, with some medical schemes even willing to cover the cost, but there are no final answers yet. The cost of the vaccine has also not been finalised or published yet,” she said.
According to Kruger, Dis-Chem drive-thru testing stations are very popular and busy, with more than 120,000 tests done so far.
“The normal annual flu vaccine will also be offered at the testing stations, while both the flu and Covid-19 vaccines also available in-store at all 195 Dis-Chem stores.”
Rachel Wrigglesworth, chief commercial officer at Clicks, said the Clicks network – which includes its dispensaries, clinics as well as its pharmaceutical distribution centres – was ready for the distribution and administration of vaccines.
“We have nurses and pharmacists in stores poised to support the implementation and we have cold chain storage and cold chain distribution capability. We are in discussions with the relevant parties, but we are not in a position to comment further until there is clarity on how the programme will work,” Wrigglesworth sid.
The Shoprite Group, meanwhile, said it was also committed and positioned to assist with the distribution and administration of Covid-19 vaccines in South Africa, through its MediRite pharmacies in selected Shoprite and Checkers supermarkets across South Africa.
MediRite already administers flu vaccines and is therefore ideally positioned to administer the Covid-19 vaccines once they are available in the country.
According to a spokesperson, the group’s pharmaceutical division – including MediRite and Transpharm – was already a preferred distributor of Covid-19 personal protective equipment (PPE) items in South Africa and had been working closely with lobby group Business for South Africa for months.
“Transpharm Pharmaceutical Wholesalers distributes pharmaceutical products and surgical equipment across South Africa. It operates nationally from regulated distribution facilities with an expanded logistical network and the required supporting infrastructure to ensure nationwide distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines.”
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Business for South Africa collaborates with government and businesses to support public sector initiatives, aligning with the various government departments. As a proud South African business, Shoprite continues to invest in the country and supports local businesses and initiatives as far as possible, the spokesperson said.