CAPE TOWN – The Western government closed 2021 with 4.5 million administered COVID-19 vaccine doses. The province managed to fully vaccinate 66,7% of residents over the age of 60; 62,41% of residents over 50; and 39,89% of residents between 18 and 49.
In a statement reviewing 2021, Juanita Arendse, the Covid-19 Vaccine Project Office lead, said there had been many milestones which the province could be proud of under challenging circumstances.
“Everyone was extremely enthusiastic about rolling out the largest ever vaccination programme in the province, with the clear goal of saving lives with each jab. Vaccines provided hope to millions of people who had endured a very dark period of illness, thousands of deaths, lockdowns and disrupted lives. Before the vaccines, death rates from Covid-19 were very high, especially in older adults. The vaccines that we use are highly effective at protecting against severe disease and death,” said Arendse.
“But the journey has not always been smooth. At the beginning of 2021, there were effectiveness concerns about the AstraZeneca vaccine, which delayed the rollout of the vaccination programme.
“Furthermore, we were faced with concerns of acceptance of the vaccines in communities which we had to overcome. Vaccine uptake was also affected by misinformation on social media platforms, and our healthcare system was under enormous pressure during the second and third waves,” she added.
Although the province celebrates this milestone, however, it did not meet the initial target it had set out for itself.
Former Western Cape Premier had, in September 2021, announced that the region would aim to fully vaccinate 70% of those who are 50 years and older and administer at least one dose of the vaccine to 70% of those who are between 18-49 years old by December 2021.
Gauteng is currently leading the country with 7.7 million doses, followed by the Western Cape and Kwa-Zulu Natal third with 4.2 million.