The South African authorities are participating in the WHO COVAX agreement, which aims to ensure that developing countries secure equal, or at least simultaneous, access to COVID-19 vaccines.
At present, Fedhealth has not been approached by our government to participate in any talks or negotiations. However, the Health Funders Association (HFA) as an Industry body represents us as one of their members.
What options to fund COVID-19 vaccines for members are Fedhealth considering?
Since our primary role remains the funding of medical services and medication, Fedhealth will ensure that all members and beneficiaries are covered for the vaccine once available.
It isn't easy to make an accurate projection of the actual cost at this early stage, due to various unknowns such as the type of vaccine that our government will approve. Still, we feel comfortable that Fedhealth will be able to cover the cost of the COVID-19 vaccine in 2021 from Risk for all our members, without impacting our 2021 financial budget.
Will Fedhealth members be able to access the vaccination this year?
At this stage, with so many unknown variables that are beyond our control and in the hands of government’s participation in the WHO COVAX agreement, it’s hard to predict exactly when Fedhealth will be able to procure vaccinations for its members.
Estimations for delivery of first vaccines to participants in the scheme is mid-2021. Fedhealth will then be subject to the roll-out plan recommended by the government. The hope is that all members will be able to get the vaccine before the end of 2021. From a scheme perspective, it will be important for us to prioritise higher-risk members with co-morbidities.