Dis-Chem has vaccinated 12 500 people at six sites and is sending out SMS 'reminders'

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Dis-Chem CEO Ivan Saltzman.
Dis-Chem CEO Ivan Saltzman.
Deon Raath

Pharmacy retailer Dis-Chem has vaccinated more than 12 500 people at six sites in Gauteng during the first week of its Covid-19 inoculation rollout.

The rollout, which began last week, was off to a slow start but the numbers of people coming in for jabs increased on Thursday and Friday, the company said.

To assist with attendance, Dis-Chem has been forwarding automated SMS notifications from the Department of Health scheduling system as reminders to people scheduled to receive vaccinations at its sites.

Appointments are scheduled via the government’s electronic vaccine data system (EVDS) and people are supposed to be assigned to sites close to their homes.

Dis-Chem’s vaccination sites are not part of its pharmacies - but set up in separate parts of its Midrand head office as well as in dedicated spaces in the Centurion Mall, Mall of the South, Jabulani Mall, East Rand Mall and Fourways Mall.

The group’s CEO Ivan Saltzman encouraged eligible people over the age of 60 to register for vaccinations on the EVDS. 

"There is power in numbers and the quicker we can immunise more people, the quicker we will reach herd immunity and return to some sense of normality," Saltzman said. 

Dis-Chem also warned that the supply of the vaccines could be constrained in the next few weeks.

South Africa is currently rolling out vaccinations for people over 60, but is racing against time to inoculate 67% of the population by the end of the year to achieve herd immunity.  


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