Vigilance about prospective third wave is key despite Covid-19 vaccine roll out
Cape Town - While the second wave of Covid-19 infections has clearly subsided, health authorities in the Western Cape have warned citizens to remain vigilant about the real prospect of a third wave.
This was the message from the Health department's chief operating officer Dr Saadiq Kariem during Premier Alan Winde’s regular digicon update on Covid-19 and the vaccine rollout in the province.
Dr Kariem said: “Our local teams remain on high alert for surveillance and response to localised clusters, especially for the vulnerable, even though the second wave has subsided in the Western Cape, with a clear and consistent decline in cases, hospitalisation and deaths.”
Regarding the vaccine rollout Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo said: “One week after the first vaccine was administered in the province, the Western Cape has vaccinated 5 389 healthcare workers representing approximately 41% of its allocated 13 000 doses.”
Mbombo said: “It is crucial for those who have been vaccinated to remember that research shows vaccination does not take effect immediately.
“Also there is no research that confirms that vaccination means that you cannot transmit or spread the virus. Therefore there is need for adherence to non-pharmaceutical interventions; especially for individuals who have underlying medical conditions precautions need to remain in place.”
Winde said: “We have experienced some minor early challenges in the rollout of phase one, most of which have already been addressed and resolved. We have also seen the number of people being vaccinated increasing daily.
“To ensure that we prevent any situation emerging where a non-healthcare worker poses as a healthcare worker during this first phase of this vaccination programme, we will be requesting all healthcare workers to show staff identification, or to provide their Health Professions Council registration number as verification,” said Winde.
“Healthcare workers are our number one priority in this phase and I therefore appeal to residents not to try and skip the queue ahead of our front-line workers,” said Winde.
Speaking about his experiences Dr Sa'ad Lahri, an emergency physician from Khayelitsha hospital who was the second healthcare worker in South Africa to be vaccinated, said: “I just had a very minor side-effect of a little pain where I was injected but other than that nothing.
“Some of my other colleagues reported a little fever and muscle ache, but all that went away very quickly,” said Dr Lahri.