SA’s available vaccines do offer protection against Indian variant, says expert
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Pretoria - An expert has assured South Africans that the two coronavirus vaccines available in the country were capable of protecting them against variants like the one discovered in Covid-19-hit India.
The country recently acquired doses of the Pfizer vaccine to add to its stock of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine which are being used in a nationwide campaign to vaccinate 46 million against the pandemic.
National Institute for Communicable Diseases expert Anne von Gottberg said on Sunday that research on the Indian variant was still needed “but mutations of the variant and current information suggest our vaccines will be effective.”
"If you look at the mutation, and if you look at the details of those variants at the moment, we are predicting that the vaccines should still work.
“That is one thing that will be investigated, and researched very carefully in the laboratories - and then in the communities where vaccines have been given," Gottberg said.
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize expressed concern over an increase of Covid-19 cases in the country over the past two weeks.
“We have noticed a worrying trend of increasing numbers of detected cases in a number of districts,” the minister said.
He revealed that there were about 2 191 new cases on Sunday alone, which led to the death of 37 people – giving the country a total of 54 724 Covid-19 deaths since the outbreak of the pandemic in March 2020.
South Africa's recovery rate, however, remained stable at 95%, Mkhize said.
He encouraged fellow South Africans to adhere to the non-pharmaceutical interventions in an effort to ensure that the rise in infections did not turn into the much-feared third wave.