Top pharmacy chain stores, Clicks Group and Dis-Chem have announced plans to facilitate the dispensary of COVID-19 vaccines in the country as soon as possible. According to a report, the duo will offer COVID-19 shots at their stores and provide storage and distribution facilities in the vaccine rollout programme once the government provides more details.
A call was recently made by Zweli Mkhize, the country’s Health Minister for the private sector to help with the rollout. Experts had also advised the government to aggressively engage them in order to efficiently dispense the vaccine to at least one-third of over 59 million people.
The proposed involvement of these two pharmaceutical companies in the vaccination exercise is projected to see the fast spread of the vaccine across the country. With a joint 45 percent dispensary market share, Clicks and Dis-Chem are expected to significantly boost vaccination through their outlets.
“We will assist and put our hand up,” said Lizeth Kruger, Dis-Chem National Clinic Manager. He added that the company which has more than 180 stores, will vaccinate at all its clinics nationwide and also at its eight drive-through COVID-19 testing stations.
Click Group seeks to follow suit. The company is SA’s biggest drug distribution and bulk wholesale supplier. Through retail brands, such as Clicks, GNC, The Body Shop, Claire’s and Musica, it has over 690 stores across southern Africa. Clicks is a pharmacy, health and beauty retailer with over 500 stores and approximately 400 in-store dispensaries.
When the pandemic broke out in sub-Saharan Africa, South Africa was one of the worst hit in the region. The country which recorded 1.17 million cases with 938,000 recoveries and 31,809 deaths, was forced to implement a series of lockdown measures due to the overwhelming pressure from the pandemic.
As operations in mining sites, schools, restaurants and recreation centres were shut down, the country’s already weak economy began to nosedive into a recession. However, with the involvement of these top stores, more people would get vaccinated while cases of infection lower drastically. This is expected to lead to an increase in economic activities and a rise in the country’s GDP.