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Mar 22, 2021

Winter is here and as usual, so is the dreaded flu. However, with the medical technology of vaccines, the chances of contracting either of these viruses can be greatly reduced or even eliminated completely. Why take the risk? Take your vaccine as soon as you can. Protect yourself and your family from these winter viruses so that your immune system can be at its peak in case you have to defend your body from an ailment.

2021 annual flu vaccine

All Bestmed members and dependants have access to flu vaccinations every year as part of their preventative care benefits. Make sure that you get your annual shot because the flu vaccine is updated every year with new strains of the virus that were discovered the year preceding it. The developers of the vaccines track the virus’ progression in other areas of the world that experienced winter while we were enjoying spring and summer. Oh, the wonders of medical science. Visit your nearest network pharmacy to get your vaccine, the cost of which is paid from Scheme risk at 100% Scheme rate. That means that it will not affect your day-to-day benefits or savings.

Please take note that there will be a limited quantity of flu vaccinations stocked by pharmacies. As such, we advise you to get your vaccine as soon as possible to avoid any disappointment and to phone the pharmacy beforehand to ensure they have stock.

The flu vaccination is not indicated to prevent COVID-19 but it will help protect you from flu and, therefore, may help you to avoid unnecessary doctor’s visits. This will limit your exposure to and protect vulnerable individuals from potentially more severe diseases.

COVID-19 vaccine

The COVID-19 vaccine has been identified as a Prescribed Minimum Benefit (PMB) by Dr Zweli Mkhize, Minister of Health. This means that it will be regarded as PMB level of care and will be funded in full by the Scheme, regardless of the member’s option or available benefits, when it becomes available.

The National Department of Health (NDoH) will be responsible for single, centralised procurement of COVID-19 vaccines. This means that the sourcing and distribution of the vaccine will be a national roll-out project coordinated by the NDoH. The NDoH will contract with suppliers to purchase stock and will allocate vaccines to provincial health departments and the private healthcare sector.

Bestmed, as a registered medical scheme, is a health insurer and funder, and not a procurer or provider of healthcare services. Bestmed cannot, therefore, develop an internal prioritisation plan and will rather abide by the NDoH’s prioritisation plan for the allocation of vaccines.

Accreditation is required for private providers to administer the vaccines and Bestmed will fund the vaccination cost at any of these accredited providers. Vaccinations will be allocated to various priority groups for administration of the vaccines.

  • Phase I – Healthcare workers: doctors, pharmacists and allied healthcare workers on the front line are expected to start being vaccinated early February 2021.
  • Phase II – Essential workers, persons in congregate setting, persons older than 60 years and persons older than 18 years with co-morbidities.
  • Phase III – Other persons older than 18 years.

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 imperative that you protect yourself against the flu by being vaccinated as soon as possible.

Please note that it is best to wait a few days or weeks between the administration of the flu vaccination and the COVID-19 vaccination. Please discuss any concerns you may have regarding the vaccines with your doctor, pharmacist, or clinic nurse.


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