Why some people without medical aid are being turned away at private vaccination sites

Kyle Zeeman Digital Editor
Walk-ins wait to receive their jabs at the Mitchells Plain vaccination site in Cape Town. File photo.
Walk-ins wait to receive their jabs at the Mitchells Plain vaccination site in Cape Town. File photo.
Image: Esa Alexander

While the private sector has jumped on board to open more Covid-19 vaccines sites across the country, some people are still apparently being turned away at private sites for not having medical aid.

Several social media users have recounted in recent weeks how they saw people being turned away because they did not have medical insurance.

The department of health responded to the concerns, explaining that all citizens, regardless of whether they have insurance or not, will be allocated to the most appropriate vaccination site, whether the site is private or public.

The department will then foot the bill if the person is not on medical aid.

“In accordance with the sales and distribution agreement, the principle has been agreed that the department will reimburse the private sites for the administration of vaccinations to uninsured people, including uninsured walk-ins, provided they are registered on the EVDS [electronic vaccination data system].”

It said the reimbursement would cover the service cost of administering the jab and a credit note would be issued to cover the cost of the vaccine.

The department said in May the cost of administering the vaccine for a health facility registered to vaccinate should be R70 per vaccination, which includes cover for vaccine waste, confirmation of details on the EVDS, preparation of the vaccine, vaccination, counselling, and 15 minutes waiting period in the facility following vaccination.

However the “mechanics” of how the reimbursement will work is still being finalised, leading to some sites turning uninsured people away.

The department called on these sites to vaccinate all citizens, reassuring them that they will be reimbursed.

“We would like to encourage private sites to proceed with vaccinating all uninsured, registered people over 50 years, and provide reassurance that they will be reimbursed once the mechanism has been finalised. The relevant records should be maintained to facilitate this.”

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