The winter season is upon us and so too are the sniffles, tickly throats, sniffs, and runny or blocked noses that come with the flu at the same time.
Bestmed is happy to remind you that the annual influenza (flu) vaccine is available to all Bestmed members and dependants. Please remember that the flu vaccine is funded from the Scheme’s preventative care benefit and not from your available day-to-day benefits or savings.
The vaccines and administration thereof are already available at certain Bestmed network pharmacies or Bestmed Medical Centre without a co-payment. Bestmed will reimburse your service provider for the cost of the vaccine, together with the contracted dispensing fee and administration fee (code 981062001). There should be no co-payment payable by members as the above reimbursement should fall within available benefits.
Taking the flu vaccine with the COVID-19 vaccine
The flu vaccination is not indicated to prevent COVID-19, but it will help to protect you against flu and protect vulnerable individuals from potentially more severe diseases. It may also help you to avoid unnecessary doctor’s visits.
According to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), “the flu vaccine protects against infection from influenza viruses, while COVID-19 vaccines protect against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. It is important to take the flu vaccine to protect oneself from influenza, thereby reducing the burden on the health system.”
The South African COVID-19 Vaccination Programme, Circular 3 of 2022, states that the flu vaccine can be administered together with the COVID-19 vaccines, and there is no need to wait between administrations.
“There is no particular requirement regarding the order of receiving the influenza and COVID-19 vaccine. If both vaccines are available at the same time and an individual is eligible for both, it is recommended to prioritise the COVID-19 vaccine,” adds the NICD.
COVID-19 is not an upper respiratory tract infection (URTI), like influenza, but rather a systemic disease that affects the entire body. The common cold, allergic rhinitis, asthma and influenza are common diseases, which may complicate the diagnosis of a COVID-19 infection. Therefore, it is important that you protect yourself against the flu by being vaccinated as soon as possible.
Please discuss any concerns you may have regarding the vaccines with your doctor, pharmacist, or clinic nurse.