Initially hamstrung by low and uncertain supplies of COVID-19 vaccines, government is arguably now in a better position to campaign actively to accelerate vaccine demand, albeit in the midst of an often-harmful viral “infodemic”. Chris Bateman asks what can be done to boost demand for the jab.
While it is still unclear what caused the fire at the Christiana Hospital in the North West last week, residents are concerned about what this means for their health needs. Millions of rands’ worth of infrastructure upgrades were destroyed by a fire that left a big part of the hospital in ruins. Nthusang Lefafa reports.
The Western Cape Department of Health has identified Khayelitsha and Mitchell’s Plain as the areas with the lowest vaccinations and vaccine registrations in the Cape Town metro. By Monday 30 August, only 22.37% of Mitchell’s Plain’s vaccine-eligible population older than 18 years have registered. In Khayelitsha, this number stood at 12.05%. Siyabonga Kamnqa visited the two areas to find out more.
A few weeks ago, South Africa’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout seemed well set. We were consistently administering over 200,000 doses on weekdays and well over a million a week. Government got a few things right, but there’s so much more it can still do.
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.
Thousands of healthcare contract workers in the Eastern Cape Department of Health face an uncertain future over the continued extension of their contracts. This follows two conflicting decisions on ending contracts of workers roped in February last year to help in the fight against COVID-19 in the province. Luvuyo Mehlwana reports.
Refugees, asylum seekers, migrants, and undocumented people are estimated to make up around 4 million of the people living in South Africa. That is nearly 7% of the country’s total population yet there is still no clarity on the process to register and vaccinate undocumented people.
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.
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.