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As government considers ending national state of disaster, over 50% vaccinated in Western Cape

The Western Cape Health Department has its Vaxi Taxi project. Photo: WCG

The Western Cape Health Department has its Vaxi Taxi project. Photo: WCG

Published Feb 15, 2022


Cape Town - More than half of adults in the Western Cape are fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

This news follows President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement that the government is considering ending the national state of disaster.

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The latest figures from National Institute For Communicable Diseases (NICD) show that as of last Sunday, 54.8% of adults (people aged 18 and older) in the Western Cape have been vaccinated. This works out to 2.7 million of the province’s adult population of 4.9m.

NICD spokesperson Sinenhlanhla Jimoh said that 1 649 new Covid-19 cases have been identified across the country, bringing the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 3.6 million.

This increase represents an 8.1% positivity rate. He said that the majority of new cases on Sunday were from Gauteng (35%), followed by Western Cape (22%) and KwaZulu-Natal (14%).

“Mpumalanga accounted for 9%, Free State and North West each accounted for 5% respectively. Limpopo accounted for 4%; Eastern Cape accounted for 3%; and Northern Cape accounted for 2% of Sunday’s new cases.”

The provincial health department has said it will continue to drive vaccinations through a targeted approach, focusing on areas with low vaccine uptake. The department continues to appeal to all eligible people to get vaccinated, or take up their booster dose.

“We have seen small increases in all age groups and would really like to improve the vaccination coverage, so that we can have 85% of the over 50-year-old cohort fully vaccinated and 65% of the 18 to 49-year-old cohort vaccinated with at least one dose.”

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During his State Of the Nation Address last week, Ramaphosa said the end of the state of disaster would be announced once the government finalises measures under the National Health Act and other legislation to contain the pandemic.

He said that as the trajectory of the pandemic has continued to change, the government has had to adapt and evolve its approach.

“Over the past year, we have focused on accelerating our vaccine rollout. So far, we have administered 30 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines. Consequently, nearly 42% of all adults and 60% of everyone over 50 is fully vaccinated.”

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He said the country was now ready to enter a new phase in its management of the pandemic.

Clinical risk expert Dr Jacques Snyman said: “As is the case with the influenza virus, one year we may see a relatively mild flu season and the next a more virulent strain may emerge, leading to more aggressive disease.”

He said the same could happen with Covid-19, and it is important to be vaccinated, remain vigilant and keep up the reasonable precautions that are in place, such as mask wearing, physical distancing and avoiding crowded, poorly-ventilated spaces.

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