Covid-19: Each jab will cost medical aids between R280 and R308, but it's free to the public

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A medical staff receives the Covid-19 vaccine at the vaccination ward at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital in April. (Photo by Gallo Images/Beeld/Deaan Vivier)
A medical staff receives the Covid-19 vaccine at the vaccination ward at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital in April. (Photo by Gallo Images/Beeld/Deaan Vivier)
  • Private healthcare suppliers have been informed that vaccines will cost between R280 and R308 per dose.
  • The vaccines will be supplied in vials, with five or six doses in them.
  • Medical aids will foot the bill for clients' vaccines, including VAT.

Covid-19 vaccines will cost between R280 and R308 per dose in South Africa, as the country prepares to roll out the next phase in its vaccination programme on Monday.

In a circular from the Department of Health, private healthcare providers were informed that they would be able to access vaccines from the 51 million doses secured by the South African government, if they set up an account with distributors Biovac and DSV. 

The authenticity of the circular was confirmed by health department spokesperson Popo Maja.

South Africa will start vaccinating people aged 60 and older, and more healthcare workers on Monday.

READ | Criticism over number of Gauteng vaccination sites - but province says more will be activated

Government plans to vaccinate 16.6 million people over a six-month period under phase two. This would run in parallel with the vaccination of about 300 000 remaining healthcare workers who have, as yet, not been vaccinated under phase one. The second part of phase one, which was exclusively aimed at reaching 500 000 healthcare workers, will continue to ensure the healthcare workers who were not covered as part of the Sisonke protocol are vaccinated.

The Dis-Chem group has already committed to roll out 11 mass vaccination sites by the 24 May in five provinces.

The circular specified that the price of the Pfizer vaccine would be R308.48 per dose. There are six doses in a vial, so healthcare providers would need to pay R1 850.88 per vial.

The Pfizer vaccine is a two-dose vaccine to be administered 21 days apart and can be stored at between -80°C and -60°C for the entire expiry date or at -15°C to -25°C for 14 days or 2°C to 8°C for 5 days.

READ | Scramble to get Covid-19 vaccinations right

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine would cost R286.96 per dose. There are five doses of the vaccine in a vial; bringing the cost per vial to R1 434.80. The J&J vaccine is a single dose vaccine.

On top of securing the vaccine, an administration fee will be charged for the management of the electronic registration system and removal of medical waste, the circular said.

The costs will not apply to the public and the vaccine will be free to everyone at the point of administration.

The circular said:

The cost of administering the vaccine for a health facility registered to vaccinate shall be R70 per vaccination and cover for vaccine waste, including the confirmation of details on the EVDS, preparation of the vaccine, vaccination, counselling, and 15 minutes waiting period in the facility following vaccination. There shall be no additional fee levied for the vaccination.

Should the vaccinees have medical aid, the cost of administration would be paid in full by their medical scheme since it is a prescribed minimum benefit.

"In the case of uninsured vaccinees referred to a private health establishment via the EVDS, the billing will be to the National Department of Health. The billing in the case of the national department will relate to the cost of the vaccine dose and the cost of vaccine administration. The national Department of Health will (after verification on EVDS) issue a credit authorisation with the distributor for the cost of the vaccine dose and the cost of the vaccine administration," the circular said.

Medical aids would be required to pay VAT, meaning they would pay R354.75 per Pfizer dose and R330 for Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

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