- Dis-Chem is now accepting walk-ins, whether they’re insured or not, for Covid-19 vaccinations.
- This includes people aged 50 and above who have recently been urged to register for their jabs on the Electronic Vaccination System.
- More than 500,000 people in the 50 to 59 age group have already registered and some have received their first doses, despite the department of health initially aiming to launch this phase on 15 July.
- The department has since backtracked and ordered all sites to allow people in this age group to be vaccinated.
- They’ll still need to register on the Electronic Vaccination System, but won’t have to wait for an appointment.
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South African pharmaceutical chain Dis-Chem has extended its Covid-19 vaccine service to include walk-ins. People without appointments will be accepted before 14:00, and need only be registered on the Electronic Vaccination System (EVDS) to qualify.
Dis-Chem continues to play an important part in South Africa’s Covid-19 vaccine rollout, having administered approximately 100,000 doses across 14 sites in Gauteng, the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, and the Free State.
The chain was one of the first private sector institutions included in the department of health’s national rollout. It recently opened three new mass vaccination sites, and has been operating at full capacity since 2 July.
A surge in demand experienced at all Dis-Chem sites coincides with the expansion of Phase 2 of South Africa’s rollout. The EVDS, which allows people to self-register for their jabs, allocating a timeslot and dedicated vaccination point, was opened to those aged 50 and above at the start of the month.
More than half a million people in this age group (between 50 and 59) registered on the EVDS within five days. And despite the health department initially only intending to begin vaccinating these people on 15 July, many have already arrived at vaccination sites without an appointment and managed to receive their doses, according to the department’s deputy Director-General Nicholas Crisp.
The department has since decided to scrap its launch date on 15 July and on Monday issued a circular informing all sites to accept walk-ins aged 50 and above.
“The EVDS is already allocating vaccination codes to all people over 50 years who register [on the EVDS],” noted the circular issued by the director general of health.
“These EVDS codes are valid for vaccination and all providers at all sites must vaccinate any person who has a valid code… do not wait until 15 July for the 50+ population.”
Walk-ins had previously primarily been accommodated at public sites and uninsured South Africans were turned away from private sites. These directions have now changed, with Dis-Chem confirming on Monday that it would accept walk-ins, regardless of their insurance status.
“Dis-Chem welcomed a high proportion of uninsured patients across all our sites on Monday 5 July, which demonstrates the demand for vaccination by all South Africans and is an early validation of the latest policy change,” said Dis-Chem CEO Ivan Saltzman.
Dis-Chem said there was also demand for second doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
People who have registered on the EVDS and received a confirmation SMS with a voucher number can book a vaccination slot through Dis-Chem’s online appointment form.
Those who have registered, but have not received a designated slot, can now walk in for their jabs. People without an appointment will still, however, need to be registered on the EVDS. Priority is still given to those with a booking.
“Those who are walk-in vaccination recipients might have a slightly longer waiting time depending on the demand. Walk-ins must arrive before 14:00 daily please,” Dis-Chem said in response to social media queries.