Early in South Africa’s fourth COVID-19 wave, dominated by the Omicron variant, concerns were raised on what appeared to be an increase in hospitalisations among children. A few months on, Elri Voigt asks local experts what we have learnt about the Omicron variant in children.
It wasn’t rocket science when we predicted at the start of 2021 that South Africa’s biggest challenge this year would be to get COVID-19 shots into as many arms as possible. But the way it has played out with multiple setbacks and scrambling problem-solving is not something anyone could have predicted. In fewer than a thousand words, Spotlight editor Marcus Low takes a look back at a tumultuous year in health in South Africa.
The North West has passed the one million mark for COVID-19 jabs administered. Nthusang Lefafa unpacks the vaccination numbers, reasons for the province having some of the lowest vaccination numbers in the country, and how it is working to catch up.
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.
Just 54% of people in South Africa over the age of 50 have received at least one COVID-19 jab, with significant variation between provinces, as experts warn of the possibility of another wave of COVID-19 in future. Chris Bateman reports.
Limpopo has consistently been one of South Africa’s leading provinces when it comes to COVID-19 vaccinations, outshining some larger and less rural provinces such as Gauteng. Mogale Mojela visited some vaccination sites and spoke to the Limpopo health department and other stakeholders about their approach to getting people jabbed.
Plans to issue a digital vaccination certificate to people who have been jabbed were announced last week, but so far details have been sparse. Spotlight spoke to several experts to get their views on what we know about the certificates so far.
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.
Government can avoid the overwhelming of health services and minimise death in an anticipated fourth COVID-19 wave in November/December by getting 90% of people in South Africa over 35 years old vaccinated before then. Life could then return to normal by Christmas, even with ongoing SARS-CoV-2 circulation, contends vaccinologist Professor Shabir Madhi.
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.
It’s been over a year since COVID-19 first hit South Africa. Since then, many people have been living in constant fear and many have lost loved ones. Frontline healthcare workers had no choice but to face their fears if they were to keep doing the life-saving work they were trained for. Amy Green and colleagues explore the emotional toll that South Africa’s third wave of COVID-19 is taking on healthcare workers.
In the Free State as a whole, roughly 16 COVID-19 jabs have been administered for every 100 people. In the province’s rural districts, the number is closer to one for every 100. Refilwe Mochoari spoke to a nursing union, some organisations on the ground, and the Free State Department of Health to get the full picture.