SA not getting vaccinated soon enough, Phaahla warns

Despite there being no increase in the severity of Covid-19 cases and an encouraging positivity rate, infections are not declining as hoped.

Health Minister Joe Phaahla said the department had hoped for a positivity rate of less than 5% by the end of February.

South Africa’s current positivity rate is 7%.

He reported spikes of infection in several districts and a frustrating plateau rather than a flattening of the virus treatment.

Vaccination figures are losing pace

The pace at which the vaccinations are being administered is also not what Phaahla had hoped for, according to the department. Up to 70,000 doses per day were administered, which has only recently risen to over 100,000.

More than 31 million doses were administered Thursday night, representing just over 19 million adults. 48% of the adult population has received at least one shot.

Phaahla expressed concern that the 70% target for population immunity had still not been met, noting that the 18-34 age group is still lagging far behind, at just 34% currently.

Without 70% of the population being vaccinated, we cannot fully integrate with the world, Phaahla continued.

The country has the stock and capacity to get to 70%, but too few new people are vaccinated.

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State of disaster

Despite the country still being a long way from achieving immunity, the government continues to abolish the state of disaster to contain the pandemic.

Phaahla said the health department was reviewing regulations to contain Covid-19, and is ready to present its new recommendations to pass the Disaster Management Act to the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC).

Travel changes are also in the pipeline, with an announcement next week, Phaahla added.

“We have a few months to claim our place among the nations of the world. After this year it will be difficult to cope with the rest of the world without vaccination.”

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Hospital admissions and deaths

Michelle Groome, chief of the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), chief of public health surveillance and response, said this week marked the first time the country’s positivity rate has fallen below 10% since the beginning of the year. the first wave.

The number of cases is also decreasing in all provinces. NICD public health specialist Dr Waasila Jassat reported a decline in hospitalizations and deaths, with a low number at the moment.

Most deaths in hospitals also occur among unvaccinated people.

The majority of Covid-related deaths found hypertension and diabetes to be the most dangerous co-morbidities, especially in the different age groups.

Data also indicate that men are more likely to die, a statistic that increases with age. But overall, during the fourth wave, people were 50% less likely to die in hospital.

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