- Almost a million South Africans are vaccinated against the flu each year
- It is free in the public sector for priority groups
- Medical aids cover the costs of the flu vaccine
During winter, one of the ways to lighten the burden on the South African healthcare system is to strengthen one's immunity against viral diseases like the flu. According to the national health department, an average of 900 000 flu vaccines has been administered annually for the last three years in the public sector.
The department, however, cautions that flu vaccines do not offer any protection against Covid-19.
How to get the flu vaccine in the public sector
According to the spokesperson of the national department of health, Popo Maja, the state prioritises certain groups because of limited resources and the fact that not all individuals at risk of severe influenza respond well to vaccination.
“These priority groups apply to both public-funded vaccine and privately accessed vaccine: healthcare workers; individuals aged from 65 years onward; individuals with cardiovascular disease; chronic heart disease; hypertension; stroke; and diabetes; as well as those with chronic lung disease; asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; individuals living with HIV or Aids; and pregnant women at all stages of pregnancy, including the postpartum period,” Maja told Health24.
The vaccines are free of charge for the designated target groups at public health facilities.
How to access the flu vaccine in private healthcare
Maja says that the flu vaccine also targets groups that can access it at private healthcare facilities or pharmacies. Popular pharmacy groups such as Dis-Chem, Clicks and MediRite offer flu vaccines to their customers at their in-store clinics.
According to a report by Business Insider, MediRite charges R109 for the shot, while a jab at Dis-Chem costs between R190 to R250. The price at Clicks is R115.
Most medical aids in South Africa list the flu vaccine as a benefit at these pharmacies.
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