By 16 June, the National Department of Health’s statistics showed the Free State has recorded 108 515 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 4 612 deaths with 94 761 recoveries. Now, with the province caught in a third wave, healthcare workers say they still stuck with old problems from the previous two waves.
Jabs from Johnson & Johnson were central to plans to scale up South Africa’s COVID-19 vaccination programme. With news that a first consignment of two million doses cannot be used, it is critical that government play open cards with the public about its revised vaccination plans and timelines and what steps it is taking to procure more vaccines faster.
By 13 June official statistics from the Department of Health showed 382 255 people 60 years and older in the Eastern Cape registered for COVID-19 vaccination. So far, 114 661 of them received their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. Luvuyo Mehlwana visited some rural areas to see how registration and vaccination are going.
Government has been criticised for the slow pace of the country’s vaccine rollout which started on 17 May 2021. Elri Voigt spoke to experts to hear what is being done right in this vaccine rollout and where improvements are needed.
While it is uncertain when teachers in the Free State will receive vaccinations during this third wave, the number of COVID-19 infections and deaths in the province’s schools continues to increase. Refilwe Mochoari reports.
An experimental COVID-19 vaccine currently in Phase I trials being run by the University of Cape Town has a unique design that might allow it to offer better protection against current and future variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Elri Voigt provides an update on the trial and unpacks the science behind this vaccine candidate.
As a third wave of COVID-19 looms in the Western Cape, a group of doctors at Groote Schuur Hospital’s Post-COVID-19 Lung Disease Clinic are treating patients who have recovered from COVID-19 but who suffer lingering symptoms such as fatigue and shortness of breath. Bienne Huisman paid them a visit.
Phase two of South Africa’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout is underway and members of the public are being asked to report any mild, moderate or severe adverse events experienced after receiving their jabs. Adele Baleta explains what the correct way is to report adverse events after vaccination.
Messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines, such as the COVID-19 vaccines made by Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech, have been hailed for their manufacturing advantages over conventional vaccines – so much so that African leaders such as President Cyril Ramaphosa has called for mRNA production capacity to be developed in Africa. Catherine Tomlinson examines why mRNA vaccines are easier to make than some other types of vaccines and asks what it will take to build such production capacity.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused huge setbacks for the fight against TB. Now, provinces are developing TB catch-up plans. The Western Cape Department of Health will soon launch a TB dashboard as part of its “multi-sectorial TB emergency response plan”. Tiyese Jeranji reports.
It is little wonder that some TB vaccine researchers suffer from a rare syndrome that understandably threatens their mental health. Symptoms include frustration, impatience, irritability, seemingly inexplicable rage, and in the least resilient, despair. It’s called VJS or vaccine jealousy syndrome, writes Chris Bateman.