Insurers In South Africa Set To Pay For 14 Million Covid-19 Vaccines
For as many individuals who don’t have coverage as they have participants, South African health insurers would pay for a Covid-19 vaccine and estimate the policy to cost as much as 7 billion rand ($464 million).
The subsidy would mean that corporations will fund vaccines for 14 million adults in the nation of 60 million people, including medical aid members, Ryan Noach, Discovery Health Ltd. chief executive officer, said in an interview on Wednesday. The money was already set aside by Discovery, he said.
“The ultimate effect is the one-to-one cross subsidy,” he said.
The plan is being led by Adrian Gore, the CEO and co-founder of Discovery Ltd., the parent of Discovery Health and Africa’s biggest health insurer, after he was approached by South African Health Minister Zweli Mkhize.
According to Bloomberg, the government of South Africa is facing growing criticism from trade unions, health officials and opposition parties for its inability to obtain vaccines, even as at least 37 countries are beginning to inoculate their populations.
Any direct supply agreements with pharmaceutical firms have yet to be concluded by the government. In the second quarter, it plans to begin taking vaccinations to protect a 10th of its people through the Covax initiative by seeking to ensure equal access to vaccines.
South Africa is Africa’s worst-hit country, with more than 1.1 million confirmed infections and over 30,000 deaths. As a consequence of a lockdown linked to the outbreak, the economy is estimated by the government to have contracted by the most in nine decades last year. There are still some of those steps in place.
“There is no more important health care requirement than the vaccination of all South Africans,” Noach said. “It has economic benefits to the country in restoring some normality to business and trade. It’s far cheaper than a lockdown to pay for the vaccines.”
Pharmaceutical firms can negotiate with governments only directly. Nevertheless, the procurement may eventually be done by the Solidarity Fund on behalf of the government, a charity that collects money from some of the richest people and biggest businesses in the world, he said
“We will take whatever reliable vaccine we can get and whatever comes along first,” Noach said.