As the country is still calculating the tally of the vaccine stock and medicines stolen in last week’s unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, there is still a lot of uncertainty about plans to restore medicine security.
Over five million people in South Africa have so far received at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine. Elri Voigt unpacks how the vaccination rollout is going in South Africa’s nine provinces. Though the numbers do not tell the full story and provinces face different challenges, indications are that Limpopo, Western Cape, Eastern Cape, and KwaZulu-Natal are doing well, while Mpumalanga is struggling.
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.
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.
When South Africa’s rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine was put on hold in early February, a scramble ensued to ensure healthcare workers could be protected. Chris Bateman spoke to Professor Glenda Gray about the behind-the-scenes negotiations that helped secure 500 000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine – almost all of which have now been used in the Sisonke study.
Starting now, hundreds of thousands of COVID-19 vaccines will be arriving in South Africa weekly. Rather than spending energy and resources policing who gets them, we should be focusing on getting the vaccines as fast as possible into willing arms. Don’t try to micro-manage the rollout, writes Nathan Geffen and Marcus Low.
With phase two of the country’s vaccination rollout set to start on Monday, 17 May, provinces are gearing up for the largest adult vaccination push the country has ever seen. Elri Voigt provides an update on preparations for the next phase in the nine provinces and progress made in vaccinating healthcare workers through the Sisonke implementation study.
With the COVID-19 mass vaccination rollout set to start on 17 May, many more people, for now, those older than 60 years, will receive their jabs. Elri Voigt looked into what, if anything, will change for those who have been vaccinated, and what other countries have done in this regard.
COVID-19 numbers have in recent weeks been rising in the Free State, leading some to fear that the province might be at the beginning of a third wave of infections. Refilwe Mochoari asked the Department of Health, unions, and opposition political parties whether the province is ready for a third wave.
Wastewater surveillance has become an important part of South Africa’s COVID-19 monitoring systems and might even help to give early warning of a potential third wave of infections. Tiyese Jeranji looks at what is involved.