The hidden cost of obtaining the Covid-19 in South Africa: the boss of medical aid

South Africans who are not vaccinated face not only health risks but also a financial blow, said Lee Callaoppen, senior director of Bonitas Medical Fund.

Callaoppen said Bonitas has been proactive in urging its members and the public to get vaccinated, with statistics showing clear evidence that vaccines work.

“Our statistics show that among our members over 60, there are 90% fewer hospital admissions after a full vaccination and 56% fewer after a vaccination,” he said.

“Research carried out in public health has shown the same results. With this information freely available, it is worrying that only 16,944,413 people living in South Africa have been vaccinated. This is only 35.5% of adults and 23.7% of the total population.

Callaoppen said the cost of hospital admissions, especially intensive care, is very high.

“Our figures show that until November 22, the costs of Bonitas Covid-19 were 1.75 billion rand. 80% of that amount (1.4 billion rand) was for hospital costs, while only 4.9% (85.6 million rand) was for vaccinations.

“The average cost of admission to intensive care, per patient, was R533.969. There is no doubt that the vaccinations not only save lives, but also reduce the burden on the public health system, as well as saving the country billions of dollars in costs related to the treatment of Covid. Vaccines are a fraction of the cost of treating Covid. “

The statistics are clear

Callaoppen said there is enough clinical evidence to show that vaccination reduces the severity of Covid and he encourages everyone to get vaccinated. He urges those who have been vaccinated to encourage others to do the same.

Bonitas communicated the following figures related to Covid for 2021 as of November 22.

  • Total number of people aged over 18 estimated to have received at least 1 jab: 66.4%
  • Total Tests Performed: 441,929
  • Total Covid-19 hospital admissions: 20,376 (12,264 in 2021)
  • Bonitas currently lives in hospital: 0.3%
  • Admission rate: 25%
  • Intensive care admission rate: 22%
  • Total deaths due to Covid: 3,515 (2,292 in 2021)
  • Total number of Bonitas members vaccinated: 70%
  • The largest number of people vaccinated is in the 35-49 age group, followed by those over 60

“I must reiterate that our best defense against Covid-19 is to be vaccinated,” Callaoppen said.

“It won’t necessarily prevent you from catching the coronavirus, but it will reduce the severity of the disease. I contracted Covid in September but luckily because I was fully vaccinated my symptoms were mild which allowed me to heal and recover at home. My experience is not unique.

Read: Confrontation against compulsory Covid-19 vaccines in South Africa