Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni
Premium Journalist
2 minute read
27 May 2021
12:44 pm

This is how it’s done: Discovery vaccinates 2,300 a day

Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni

Discovery Health is vaccinating people at lightning speeds, administering at least 2,300 every day since last week.

Discovery Health offices in Sandton, Johannesburg. Picture: Gallo Images/Alet Pretorius

While there have been complaints about the slow pace of South Africa’s vaccine rollout process, the Discovery Health vaccination Centre has been a model of efficiency, vaccinating 550 people every two hours since 17 May.

This is according to Discovery CEO Dr Ryan Noach, who was taking journalists on a tour of the company’s massive vaccination centre at its Sandton headquarters.

According to Ron Whelan, chief commercial officer of Discovery Health, the facility administers about 2,300 vaccinations a day. The site is currently rolling out the Pfizer vaccine and patients are expected to return at the newly recommended three-month interval, pending some consultation.

The Pfizer vaccine requires two doses spaced at least 21 days apart, but new research has shown three months is the optimal interval for maximum efficacy of the drug.

Anyone who is registered on the Electronic Vaccination Data System ( EVDS) self registration portal and has received a voucher number and instructions to visit the site may go.

When you reach 1 Discovery Place in Sandton, marshals check your credentials including your voucher number to make sure you’re supposed to be there. Walk ins are rare, but The Citizen witnessed one woman’s ordeal on Thursday morning, where her husband received a voucher number, but despite having registered at the same time as her spouse, she did not.

When she arrived with her husband at the centre, she raised the issue with Noach and her matter was dealt with as an exception.

“At the end of the day if there is stock remaining we don’t ever want to waste stock that’s been drawn up so we take the occasional walk in. We are cautious though, we don’t want that message out there and we prefer the booked visits on EVDS,” Noach said.

“We have turned away some walk ins. Once you start accepting walk ins the word gets out immediately.”

“At the moment we require you to come with your SMS which shows your EVDS voucher number and tells you which lot to come for. We check that in the road before you enter the building.”