Discovery extends weekend opening hours at its vaccination sites

JOHANNESBURG/CAPE TOWN – Discovery Health has extended the opening hours at its vaccination sites across the country this weekend to bolster government’s vaccine rollout programme.

South Africa’s vaccination rollout plan has drawn heavy criticism for only administering doses on weekdays amid implementation delays, even as the third wave rips through the nation.

The private medical aid scheme has announced that its ready to vaccinate citizens aged 50 and above at all six of its sites.

Vaccine registration for people aged 50 and above went online this week with their inoculation expected to begin on 15 July.

As a surge of new COVID-19 infections driven by the Delta variant threatens to overwhelm hospitals in the country’s economic hub of Gauteng, Discovery has added the Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand, Johannesburg, to its list of vaccine sites – adding much needed capacity to accelerate the national vaccination programme.

The additional site will be able to deliver 3,800 vaccinations per day to the 3.5 million residents within close proximity of Midrand.

Chief executive officer of Discovery Health, Dr Ryan Noach said as many people as possible in South Africa needed to get vaccinated and as quickly as possible.

“We have therefore opened all our vaccination sites in Gauteng, including our band new site at the Gallagher estate, on weekends. This is to enable easy and convenient access and to accelerate the rollout of vaccination across the province.”

All discovery vaccination sites are open to anyone who has registered and obtained a valid vaccination code from the government’s electronic vaccination data system.

Meanwhile, the acting Minister of Health Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane has welcomed news of the latest vaccine approval.

SAHPRA earlier announced that it has approved the use of Sinovac’s CoronaVac in the country.

Spokesperson Hlengiwe Nhlabathi-Mokota said: “The minister has expressed her gratitude to our regulatory authority for their sense of urgency, which included reducing turnaround time to process applications of registration of medical products, COVID-19 vaccine in particular, without compromising their strict guidelines to ensure the safety of everybody in South Africa.”