Health News South Africa

South Africa plans to vaccinate 6 million people in the first Covax rollout

South Africa’s situation in terms of the coronavirus pandemic stands at 940,212 total cases, 808,241 recoveries, 131,971 active cases and 25,246 deaths. The recovery rate stands at 97.3% or you could say those infected with coronavirus have a 2.7% chance of dying at this time. SA is ranked 18th in the world when it comes to total infections and is still Africa’s most infected country with the most deaths as well.

Yesterday, (22 December 2020) the South African government paid a down payment of R283 million ($19.2 million) to GAVI (the Vaccine Alliance) to secure South Africa’s entry into the Covax facility. The South African government will be able to vaccinate 10% of the population (6 Million people) with this down payment. The Covax facility which was set up by the World Health Organisation (WHO) is designed to pool resources for the procurement and equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.

At the moment, SA is going through its second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and has also made plans to secure vaccines. A different strain of COVID-19 known as 501.V2 has also been detected in the midst of this second wave resulting in Israel, Turkey, Germany, Saudi Arabia and Switzerland stopping air travel to and from South Africa. SA’s scientists are also studying the new strain against the vaccines to test if it will still be effective.

So far the South African government and Health department have not announced how the vaccines will be distributed and who will get vaccinated first. New fear over the side effects of the vaccines have also risen in light of their rapid delivery, some people believe not enough testing was done to ensure the safety of the vaccines and other fear mandatory vaccinations may encroach on their human rights and freedoms. As lockdown is still in effect in South Africa, a newly added concern is that even with the vaccines the pandemic may never end.

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