During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, many committees and organisations were working around the clock to prepare the country for the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. Professor Hannelie Meyer, a pharmacist-turned-academic and later vaccine advocate, served on several of these committees. Elri Voigt spoke to Meyer about the pandemic, the mottos that guide her, and being an unapologetic workaholic.
The first vaccine to prevent severe lung infections, including pneumonia, in infants will save thousands of lives and reduce the burden on health systems of low- to middle-income countries, researchers say. Adele Baleta reports.
Almost 400 cases of measles have been reported across five provinces over the last four months. The NICD has advised that clinicians should be on high alert, as the opening of schools may lead to localised outbreaks. Elri Voigt reports on the current state of the outbreak, the potential outcomes, and what is being done to curtail the spread of measles in the country.
As a rebellious teenager growing up in the British town of Harpenden, Professor Helen Rees would sneak out to attend anti-apartheid talks. Today, she is a renowned scientist and chair of South Africa’s medicines regulator. Biénne Huisman chatted to Rees about her career, prioritising women’s reproductive health, and her role at the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority.
COVID-19 vaccine doses destined to be binned next month are “a shocking indictment” and questions need to be asked about just how effective the country’s vaccination drive has been, some public health experts say. Ufrieda Ho reports.
Earlier this month Cape Town-based vaccine company Afrigen announced a formal collaboration with the United States National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’ (NIAID’s) Vaccine Research Centre. Catherine Tomlinson unpacks what this deal may mean for local production of vaccines for COVID-19 and other diseases.
Indications are that the virus that causes COVID-19 is going to continue evolving and escaping the protection against infection people already have. Researchers are working on next-generation vaccines tailored to fight off specific versions of the virus, like the Omicron sub-lineages BA.4 and BA.5. But can these new vaccines be tested and produced fast enough to keep up with the rapidly changing virus? Aisha Abdool Karim asked some local experts.
Unlike regulators in the United States and Europe, the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority has not yet given the green light for any form of mix-and-match COVID-19 vaccine boosting. We take a look at the regulatory issues standing in the way of people in South Africa who received the Johnson & Johnson jab being offered Pfizer boosters.
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.
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.
Dr Nicholas Crisp is a deputy director-general in the National Department of Health and the person responsible for coordinating South Africa’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout. Crisp spoke to Chris Bateman about challenges with the rollout and his wife and daughters getting sick with COVID-19.
South Africa’s COVID-19 vaccination programme currently requires that people enter an identity number when registering on government’s electronic system and present an identity document when they go to get jabbed. This makes it hard for homeless people without IDs to get vaccinated. Siyabonga Kamnqa reports from the streets of Cape Town.