Long queue at the Cape Town International Convention Centre CTICC as vaccinations to aged between 18 and 35 opens. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency
Long queue at the Cape Town International Convention Centre CTICC as vaccinations to aged between 18 and 35 opens. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency

SA youth lauded for leading the charge and showing up in droves to be vaccinated

By Shakirah Thebus Time of article published Aug 24, 2021

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Cape Town - President Cyril Ramaphosa has applauded the youth for leading the vaccination drive, as they went in large numbers to get vaccinated.

“As I watched young people being interviewed while queueing at vaccination centres, I was impressed by their enthusiasm and excitement. Most of all, I was impressed by their knowledge about the vaccine, how it can protect, and why it is necessary,” he wrote in his weekly newsletter.

Provincial Health Department spokesperson Mark van der Heever said they anticipated the increase in demand, as the 18 to 35-year-old age cohort became eligible for the vaccination.

“This was evident on Friday and on Saturday, when we vaccinated 53 290 and 15 000 people, respectively, bringing the total vaccinations done for the week to more than 200 000,” said Van der Heever.

“We have always maintained a scale-up approach to be in a position where we are now – with sufficient vaccines, sufficient demand, and the capacity to support this. We encourage everyone who is eligible for vaccination to take the opportunity to protect themselves and their communities,” added Van der Heever.

Last week, Cabinet approved the cohort for vaccination, bringing it forward nearly two weeks earlier than anticipated.

The Western Cape difference between vaccinations was apparent as the province administered 34 954 vaccinations on Thursday, and then administered 53 290 on Friday, which was when the 18-35 cohort was able to get jabbed.

The Western Cape recorded 41 826 current active infections, 474 104 confirmed cases, and 414 743 recoveries reported, as of 1pm on Monday.

Currently, 3 511 people have been hospitalised, with 698 patients in high care or ICU.

To date, 17 535 people have succumbed to the virus in the province.

Around 1 661 709 Covid-19 vaccinations have been administered since the provincial roll-out.

Medscheme clinical advisory and risk managing executive Dr Lungi Nyathi said it is still too early to say if the expansion of the programme will make significant headway in the vaccination roll-out.

“We know, though, that when an age band opens up, there are a flurry of registrations and vaccinations in the first few weeks and then it slows down. The reality is that we need to ensure that all those not yet vaccinated, regardless of age group, get vaccinated. It is critical to ensure that we allow those who want to get vaccinated to do so as soon as possible,” said Nyathi.

The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra) said its investigations into the 32 deaths, following immunisation, have been completed and causality assessments concluded.

Sahpra is mandated to oversee the safety, efficacy, and quality of all medicines in the country, including vaccines.

Twenty-eight of the 32 deaths were not linked to vaccinations, and four deaths were unclassified, due to a lack or inadequate information available.

Sahpra said serious adverse events following immunisation (AEFIs), including adverse events of special interest (AESI), were found to be extremely rare for the Covid-19 vaccine.

Since the national vaccine roll-out commenced on May 17, 1 473 reports of AEFIs were reported by July 31, with most being “mild, non-serious, and already listed in the intentionally-approved product information”, accounting for 0.02% reporting rate out of the almost 7.1 million doses of the vaccine administered by then.

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Cape Argus

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