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The Compensation Fund (CF) is calling on pensioners to apply to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

This comes after the Fund, in collaboration with partners mutual assurance companies Rand Mutual Assurance Company Limited (RMA) and The Federated Employers Mutual Assurance Company (RF) (Pty) Ltd (FEM), recently availed R1.35 billion to support government’s efforts to fund vaccines for workers without medical aid.

The funding is anticipated to contribute towards the vaccinations of about three million workers and pensioners.

Workers and pensioners expected to benefit from the contribution will be inoculated under Phases 2 and 3 of government’s vaccination programme.

“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 Fund through the Department of Employment and Labour, said in a statement on Wednesday.

The entities will also contribute towards the costs of those receiving a pension who qualify for 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.

CF Commissioner Vuyo Mafata said the R1.35 billion contribution marks an “important turning point” in the fight against the virus.

“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,” he said.

RMA chief executive Mandla Shezi said through this collaboration, his company was supporting 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,” he said.

Ndivhuwo Manyonga, FEM CEO, said: “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,” he said.  

Over the last 12 months, the Fund received 22 663 COVID-19 claims, accepting the liability of 12 523 of these.

Pensioners and workers over 60 can 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.”

SAnews.gov.za

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