The Compensation Fund (CF) has called on pensioners to apply for vaccination as the Fund, in partnership with mutual assurance companies Rand Mutual Assurance Company Limited (RMA) and The Federated Employers Mutual Assurance Company (RF) (Pty) Ltd (FEM), have made available R1,35 billion to support government’s efforts to fund vaccines for workers who do not have medical aid cover.
The funding is anticipated to contribute towards the vaccinations of an estimated three million workers and pensioners who are uninsured.
The workers and pensioners who will be covered through the R1,35 billion contribution will be inoculated under Phases 2 and 3 of the vaccination programme as per the plan outlined by the National Department of Health.
The workers who will benefit from this initiative are mainly vulnerable low-to semi-skilled workers, who have the least resources to mitigate against the loss of income, whether temporary or permanent, resulting from hospitalisation or temporary incapacity due to Covid-19 infection.
The ripple effects of the financial burden they face are also felt by their extended families, who rely on them.
The entities will also contribute towards the costs of those receiving a pension who qualify for the Covid-19 vaccination in terms of the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act.
This collaboration will help the government procure vaccines to inoculate South Africa’s adult population in order to reach the 67% herd immunity target.
Commenting on the initiative, the CF Commissioner Vuyo Mafata said: “This collaboration with the RMA and FEM to raise funds to vaccinate uninsured workers and pensioners marks an important turning point in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
“If we can have more parties on board to support in a similar vein, we can play a significant role in providing a much-needed safety net for millions of vulnerable workers and pensioners who do not have the means to fund their vaccinations or afford private healthcare.”
Mafata acknowledged that while some challenges remain within the Compensation Fund, these are being highly prioritised for resolution.
Mandla Shezi, CEO of RMA, added: “Through this collaboration, we want to provide support in efforts to shoulder the financial burden of the costs of the vaccines and enable access to healthcare to make sure that no one is left behind in this process. Public private partnerships have a crucial role to play in achieving tangible social impact, and this serves as testament to the importance of collaboration.”
Ndivhuwo Manyonga, CEO of FEM, notes that, “As a collective we have taken the responsibility to cover the cost of medical treatment and the replacement of lost income, in the event that workers become temporarily or permanently disabled due to Covid-19 acquired in the workplace. We want to further support our pensioners, and make sure that we fully support government in rolling out this much-needed preventative measure for Covid-19 to as many people as possible.”
Over the last 12 months, the Compensation Fund, RMA and has received a total of 22 663 Covid-19 claims and has accepted liability for 12 523 of these claims.
Pensioners over 60 and workers that fall under this age group are encouraged to register on the government Electronic Vaccine Data System(EVDS) https://vaccine.enroll.health.gov.za/#/.
For registration, workers and pensioners will need their South African ID number or passport. The next phase will cover registration for people of all ages within the low to semi-skilled levels.
The costs of procuring enough vaccines to inoculate at least two-thirds of the population to achieve herd immunity remains a concern. Earlier in the year, the National Department of Health indicated to Parliament that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine would cost US$10, or about R147 per dose.
The initiative by the Compensation Fund, RMA and FEM forms part of the ongoing collaboration between the public and private sectors to plug the financial gap in the vaccine rollout programme.
For more information on the initiative visit https://www.gcis.gov.za/content/resource-centre/vaccine-toolkit