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Potential Impact of Covid-19 Vaccination On 4th Wave

Empty hospital bed

The South African government have set a target of vaccinating 70% of the country's adult population by the beginning of December 2021. This target was set to minimise the impact of the 4th wave of Covid-19 infections.

To date, 35% of adults living in South Africa have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. This milestone was reached on Wednesday after 196 696 jabs of the Covid-19 vaccine were administered.

The provinces with the highest number of people who received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine is the Western Cape (43.55%) followed by the Eastern Cape (39.84%), Limpopo (39.72%) and Free State (39.38%).

Climbing vaccination rates and the official exiting of the 3rd wave of infections have also seen the relaxation of restrictions placed on the public. Space permitting, 750 people can gather indoors while 2000 people can attend outdoor gatherings.

Acting Executive Director of the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD), Professor Adrian Puren says that managing these gatherings is key to limiting infection. He explains that small super spreader events can lead to an acceleration of Covid-19 infections. He says that the focus now should be increasing the vaccination rate in the country.

He said, “I know we speak very often on the so-called fourth wave that maybe we'll change our ideas around epidemic control in terms of if can we live with this particular virus and what would it look like if we are able to achieve high levels of vaccination as you've seen in other countries”.

“It's also important to realize that with these low numbers still means that our hospitals need to be prepared and ready in terms of bed capacity, oxygen supply, staffing. I think it's really important in this particular area if you like that we are still ready though but hopefully, with our vaccine campaign, we can really try and mitigate as best as possible in terms of trying to prevent hospitalisations” concluded Professor Puren.

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