Sister Megan Mains vaccinating healthcare worker Nokuthula Ngxishe at Gatesville Melomed vaccination centre in Athlone. Photographer Ayanda Ndamane African News Agency (ANA)
Sister Megan Mains vaccinating healthcare worker Nokuthula Ngxishe at Gatesville Melomed vaccination centre in Athlone. Photographer Ayanda Ndamane African News Agency (ANA)

With half of SA’s adult population unvaccinated, experts urge more to roll up their sleeves

By Se-Anne Rall Time of article published Nov 25, 2021

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Durban - With less than half the country’s adult population vaccinated, the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) is urging people to roll up their sleeves and get inoculated against Covid-19.

According to the National Department of Health 41% of adults in South Africa have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, with 35% fully vaccinated.

“It is difficult to predict the magnitude and timing of a potential Covid-19 resurgence, however, we implore the unvaccinated to get the Covid-19 vaccine, especially the elderly and those with comorbidities,” said Head of the Division of Public Health Surveillance and Response, Dr Michelle Groome.

She said vaccination and prior infection provide good protection against developing severe disease, and while there might be an increase in future case numbers, the number of hospitalisations and deaths are expected to be less severe in comparison to previous resurgences.

According to reports, SA is set to be hit by the fourth wave in the coming weeks.

Earlier in the week, the NICD reported that it has observed an increase in the seven-day moving average of new Covid cases.

“The percentage testing positive in Gauteng, particularly in Tshwane among 10 – 29-year-olds over the past week. Additionally, the NICD has recently identified a cluster amongst the 20 – 44 age group at an institute of higher education in Tshwane,” said NICD acting executive director, Professor Adrian Puren.

Meanwhile, more than 30 000 healthcare workers in Gauteng have yet to be vaccinated. According to the Gauteng Department of Health, only 64% of healthcare workers are fully vaccinated.

Furthermore, since the start of the pandemic, 16 236 health workers have been infected with Covid-19, of whom 1 908 had to be admitted to hospital and 111 died. The bombshell was revealed in a Gauteng Health Department presentation at a meeting of the Gauteng Legislature’s health committee.

“As we head towards a likely fourth wave of infection, more needs to be done to dispel vaccine misinformation in Gauteng, both among health workers and the general public,” said DA spokesperson on Health, Jack Bloom.

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