Keep your immune system stronger than ever

Bankmed acknowledges that the flu vaccine will be carefully rationed this year due to the limited stock that the country has received. The South African Government is prioritising that healthcare workers and high-risk groups, such as those younger than three and older than 65 years old, receive the flu vaccine first. We encourage you to get your flu vaccine, as soon as it becomes available to you.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is no more critical time than now for you to be doing everything possible to strengthen your immune system and to protect yourself from any potential infection during the coming months.

Why do you need to get the flu vaccine?

The flu vaccine won’t protect you against COVID-19, but it will protect you against the flu. Since the flu season and COVID-19 are now overlapping, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) in South Africa has recommended that everyone, in particular those who are at high risk of developing severe flu and flu-related complications, receive a flu vaccination ahead of the influenza season this year.

Does the timing of my vaccine matter?

To receive the full benefits of the vaccine, you ideally want to get vaccinated before the flu season begins and the virus starts to spread. So, to maximise your immunity, get vaccinated now in early April as the vaccine becomes available.

With our country in lockdown, pharmacies will still be open as an essential service to all. You will still be able to visit a pharmacy in our network to get your flu shot. Getting the flu vaccine will not use up your day-to-day benefits; it is covered from your Wellness and Preventative Care Benefits (Insured Benefits). If the flu vaccine is administered by a nurse, and should a consultation fee be charged, it is subject to the nurse consultation benefit. We do urge that you stay safe when going to the pharmacy by practising social distancing and sanitising.

Benefits for COVID-19: How you are covered

The symptoms of flu and COVID-19 may be similar but they are two different viruses and you can be exposed to both. Although there is currently no vaccine for COVID-19, it is especially important to get the flu vaccine so that you can keep your immune system strong and avoid developing both illnesses. If you are experiencing COVID-19-related symptoms, your first reference point is to call or arrange a virtual consultation with your Healthcare Professional and self-isolate. Please avoid crowded doctor’s rooms and hospitals. Your Healthcare Professional will guide you through the process set out by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) if testing is required.

Bankmed will cover the cost of the test from your Insured Benefits, for all members across all Plans, as long as Healthcare Professionals follow the protocols established by the NICD. Refer to the COVID-19 page for more detailed information on how you are covered.

We wish you and your family well during the lockdown period, stay safe and healthy!