Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA) Archives
Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Focus on driving up vaccinations instead of relaxing restrictions, says UKZN professor

By Rudolph Nkgadima Time of article published Sep 8, 2021

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The University of KwaZulu-Natal’s acting deputy vice-chancellor of research and innovation, Professor Mosa Moshabela, says the government should be focusing on driving up vaccinations instead of moving the country to an adjusted alert Level 2.

Following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s meeting with the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) and President's Co-ordinating Council (PCC) on Tuesday, it has been reported that an announcement from the president on lockdown alert Level 2 was imminent.

According to a government advisory published on Tuesday, the address will also focus on the way forward to achieve population immunity through vaccination.

“The meetings reflected on the rate of Covid-19 infections and vaccinations, and assessed the Covid-19 prevention measures in force under the adjusted Level 3 of the National State of Disaster. The NCCC agreed that government will in the coming days hold consultations with political parties and the religious sector on the observance of safety measures.”

Moshabela said he did not understand the reason for the urgency as some provinces continued to report an increase in the number of new Covid-19 cases.

“We would be better off focusing on driving up vaccination and delaying the relaxation of the lockdown levels. It would be better to focus on driving up vaccination now, extending the level 3 for a little bit longer and then relax at a time when it's a lot safer to do so.

“If we were to wait for KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape to settle down a lot more in terms of infections, then we could in the meantime be pushing other priorities including vaccination. Other than that I don’t understand this sense of urgency. There’s a lot more urgency to prepare for any eventuality that may come in December and that really depends on more vaccination drive,” said Moshabela.

Meanwhile, Western Cape Premier Alan Winde has called for the National State of Disaster to be lifted and a better Covid-19 management system to be implemented to reduce the pressure placed on the economy and drive job creation.

According to Winde, there should not be a one-size-fits-all approach to implementing restrictions.

Restrictions should be implemented in line with each provincial health-care system's ability to cope. We have learnt how to manage waves and have the capacity to do so at a provincial level. I also submitted that this must now be thought through and put in place before the fourth wave," he said.

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