Discovery launches new mass vaccination centre in Gauteng, as Sanlam and others open more sites

  • Discovery Health has opened a mass vaccination site at Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand.
  • Sanlam has set up vaccination sites in all three of SA’s busiest metros.
  • Polmed plans to vaccinate 20 000 SAPS members in three days.

As South Africa races against time amid a wildly spreading third wave of Covid-19 infections, medical schemes and insurers are opening more vaccination sites to speed up inoculations.

Discovery is promising to deliver 3 800 vaccinations per day at its new mass site, and Sanlam has opened new sites in the country’s three busiest metros. Polmed has set a target to vaccinate 180 000 people by the end of this month.

Discovery Health’s new Gallagher Convention Centre-based mass vaccination site in Midrand is the insurer’s sixth Covid-19 inoculation site. It is targeting to reach 3.5 million people who live in close proximity to the facility. The company said this site was one of the largest vaccination centres countrywide and included more than 48 full-time vaccinators and 150 clinical and support staff.

Together with its other vaccination sites, Discovery Health’s target is to deliver 40 000 vaccinations per day at the peak of the rollout – as it has extended its operating hours.

“This is a significant contribution to the country’s current rollout of the Covid-19 vaccines and Gauteng’s efforts to vaccinate all teachers across the province as quickly as possible,” said Discovery Health CEO, Dr Ryan Noach.

Sanlam has opened vaccination sites at its offices in Bellville in Cape Town, and Houghton in Johannesburg. Its other sites are in Woodstock, Centurion, Roodepoort and Durban.

The insurer is rolling these out in partnership with Afrocentric, the administrator of medical schemes such as the Government Employees’ Medical Scheme (GEMS), Bonitas, Fedhealth, and Polmed – in which Sanlam owns a stake.

Although the insurer announced its readiness to vaccinate people over the age of 50 last week, it has been running some of these sites for a few weeks. These have vaccinated over 10 000 people.

Jurie Strydom, CEO of Sanlam Life and Savings, said since the opening, these facilities have been refined to get more people vaccinated.

“It is important that large, private-sector employers play their part as an extension of South Africa’s vaccine programme so that we can encourage every eligible person to get vaccinated and to experience for themselves that the process is smooth and effective,” he said.

Polmed, also in partnership with its administrator Afrocentric, kicked off its vaccination drive on 5 July. It has opened a vaccination site at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto, Johannesburg, with a mission of vaccinating 20 000 active SA Police Service (SAPS) members in three days.

From this week, police personnel will start to receive vaccinations

When the three-day vaccination drive ends, the scheme will vaccinate police officers at the Tshwane Policy Academy, at police stations throughout the country, and other nearby centres with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Polmed said its mission is to get every active member of the SAPS – just over 180 000 people – vaccinated by the end of July.