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We won’t see as much death in the fifth wave due to vaccines working: expert

Published May 18, 2022

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Durban: A University of KwaZulu-Natal professor says vaccine efficiency and herd immunity are two key reasons there won’t be as many deaths in the fifth wave of Covid-19.

South Africa is now in a fifth wave with a 20% positivity rate in the past 24 hours.

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The Department of Health said more than 5 096 new cases had been reported and 41 deaths recorded in the past 48 hours.

But Head of Public Health Medicine at UKZN, Professor Saloshni Naidoo, said that while there would be many infections, most of these cases would be mild and moderate.

“We are not seeing the pressure for hospitals. While there are admissions and people are in ICU, hospitals are not under pressure like in the previous waves.”

Naidoo said this was largely due to the vaccines working.

“That is the message that needs to get across, is that vaccines work, and people need to get vaccinated.”

Naidoo said the deaths being reported were mostly in the elderly and those with comorbidities.

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South Africa has fully vaccinated only 45% of its 39.7 million adult population.

Naidoo said vaccine hesitancy was due to misinformation and needed to be corrected through public communication.

KZN, which has the second highest population in the country, has recorded the country’s lowest vaccine rate.

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More than 4.4 million remain unvaccinated.

She added: “With the recent floods in KZN people are being housed in temporary shelters. The Department of Health can use this as an opportunity to educate about vaccines and offer it to those who have not been vaccinated.”

She said it was uncertain when the fifth wave would end.

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“We are currently also in winter, so we will plateau before anything changes.”

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