COVID-19: How to respond to vaccine hesitancy

COVID-19: How to respond to vaccine hesitancy

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.

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COVID-19: Is SA vaccinating enough older persons to protect against possible fourth wave?

COVID-19: Is SA vaccinating enough older persons to protect against possible fourth wave?

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.

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We need to vaccinate 90% of over-35s – Madhi

We need to vaccinate 90% of over-35s – Madhi

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.

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Alcohol bans had greater impact than curfews, study finds

Alcohol bans had greater impact than curfews, study finds

New research published in the South African Medical Journal has found compelling evidence that a blanket ban on alcohol reduces the number of unnatural deaths related to trauma injuries while curfews have less of an impact. Adele Baleta spoke to lead author, Professor Tom Moultrie.

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Trial of potentially variant-proof vaccine ongoing in Western Cape

Trial of potentially variant-proof vaccine ongoing in Western Cape

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.

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Corruption and ministerial powers centre stage at NHI hearings

Corruption and ministerial powers centre stage at NHI hearings

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize this week provided an update on investigations into a multimillion-rand NHI communications contract mired in controversy. That same morning, MPs in Parliament were again reminded of how critical an independent National Health Insurance Board will be. One organisation proposed an additional NHI corruption-fighting unit. Alicestine October has the latest from in and outside of Parliament.

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Behind the scenes: How the first 500 000 vaccine doses administered in SA were secured

Behind the scenes: How the first 500 000 vaccine doses administered in SA were secured

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.

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COVID-19: Is the Free State ready for a third wave?

COVID-19: Is the Free State ready for a third wave?

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.

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COVID-19: Wastewater surveillance could help spot third wave

COVID-19: Wastewater surveillance could help spot 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.

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SA piloting mobile X-rays to improve TB detection

SA piloting mobile X-rays to improve TB detection

South Africa’s first National Tuberculosis Prevalence Survey found that many people without TB symptoms nevertheless have TB disease that can be detected using chest X-rays. Accordingly, new mobile X-ray screening programmes are being piloted in a number of provinces. Tiyese Jeranji reports.

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New TB testing strategy ups diagnosis in clinics by 17%

New TB testing strategy ups diagnosis in clinics by 17%

Around 360 000 to 390 000 people in South Africa fall ill with tuberculosis (TB) every year. Of these, around 120 000 to 150 000 are never diagnosed. Now a new TB testing strategy has been shown to improve TB detection at clinics by 17%. Tiyese Jeranji reports.

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30% increase in maternal deaths during COVID-19 lockdown reported

30% increase in maternal deaths during COVID-19 lockdown reported

Reproductive health experts say South Africa recorded a 30% increase in maternal deaths during lockdown compared to the same period in 2019. Suicide, a previously unrecognised cause of maternal mortality in the country, also increased and some experts believe the stressors of the COVID-19 pandemic played a role. Tiyese Jeranji reports.

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