- People between the ages of 18 and 34 can be vaccinated against Covid-19 from 1 September.
- Pharmaceutical retailers Clicks and Dis-Chem say they will ready to vaccinate the huge cohort.
- Both Clicks and Dis-Chem plan to ramp up their vaccination competencies by the end of August.
Pharmaceutical retailers Clicks and Dis-Chem say they are ready to vaccinate people between the ages of 18 and 34 against Covid-19 from 1 September. This follows President Cyril Ramaphosa's announcement on Sunday that this age group will soon be eligible for their jabs.
Clicks told Fin24 that it remains well positioned to accommodate an increase in customers wanting to be vaccinated.
"We are committed to the national imperative of getting as many people vaccinated in the shortest possible time. We possess both the technical expertise and the national footprint. We are in the process of implementing a new booking system to assist our customers," said Vikash Singh, managing executive at Clicks.
Clicks' national presence comprises 632 pharmacies.
According to Statistics South Africa, the youth (aged 18 to 34) constitutes almost a third of the country's population (at 17.84 million) in South Africa, as per 2019 estimates.
The group said it currently has 300 vaccination sites live with another 300 pharmacies expected to go live before the end of August. This will take the group to 600 vaccination sites across the country.
Singh said the quantity of vaccines ordered and allocated is based on availability of vaccines from the National Department of Health and the capacity of individual Clicks vaccination sites.
Clicks said it is currently offering vaccinations five days per week at all vaccination sites and will not extend vaccination days; however, "where stock and capacity allow, we do trade weekend hours to assist with high demand".
Dis-Chem said private-sector sites have started to receive an increasing proportion of the weekly vaccine allocation due to private-sector providers now being able to vaccinate both medically insured and uninsured people. "This is further supported by the availability of the J&J vaccine from the end of this week," said the group.
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Dis-Chem said its focus is on increasing its number of vaccination sites, which will add much-needed capacity, particularly in areas with lower penetration.
The group told Fin24 that it opened four additional mass vaccination sites on Tuesday - in Knysna, Krugersdorp, Nelspruit and at the Weskus Mall in Vredenburg. This will take the current Dis-Chem mass vaccination site count to 19, with combined capacity to administer up to 10 000 jabs per day with a consistent vaccine supply (which is expected to stabilise from next week).
"Plans are in place to double the capacity during August through a combination of further mass vaccination sites and the administration of vaccinations from selected in-store clinics," the group said.
With everyone 18 years and older eligible to vaccinate from 1 September, Dis-Chem said priority will be given to those with bookings, starting with people older than 60 and then moving down the age bands.
Walk-ins will be accommodated based on excess daily capacity once scheduled appointments have been honoured; however, everyone is encouraged to preregister, said Dis-Chem.