Reitumetse Makwea

By Reitumetse Makwea


Experts emphasise the importance of vaccination ahead of Easter holidays

Experts say it is important to increase the uptake of vaccines before the Easter holidays to ensure that those who do get infected do not get severely ill.

The fifth Covid wave, which is expected to be less severe, will definitely hit SA, and experts say it is important to increase the uptake of vaccines before the Easter holidays to ensure that those who do get infected do not get severely ill.

This comes after China announced a lockdown in the northeastern Chinese city of Changchun, with a population of nine million people, as Covid cases continue to surge. However, health experts have assured South Africans there was no need to panic as the lockdown was not going to really affect SA. They remained optimistic that the worst was over.

“I am, however, worried about what will happen after the Easter holidays, especially as people go to different congregations,” the South African Medical Association’s Dr Angelique Coetzee said.

“I would urge them to wear their masks and practise social distancing and, if you are not vaccinated, please don’t go.

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“So it’s extremely important to see what’s going to happen after the Easter holidays.”

As of Tuesday, the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) reported that at least 581 new Covid cases had been identified in the country at a positivity rate of 4.5%. This brings the cumulative tally of Covid cases up to about 3.7 million since the outbreak of the virus two years ago.

“The majority of new cases today are from Gauteng (275), followed by Western Cape (118),” the NICD said.

“KwaZulu-Natal accounted for 109, Free State 16, Mpumalanga 16, North West 15, Eastern Cape 11 and Northern Cape 14.

“Limpopo accounted for 1% (7) of new cases.”

However, the national department of health’s vaccination programme continues, with a total of 74 246 vaccines administered in the past 24-hour reporting period, which brought the total number of vaccines administered to more than 33.4 million.

Professor Glenda Davison, head of the biomedical sciences department at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, said as China was experiencing huge increases in infections, dominated by a subvariant of omicron called BA-2, it was not surprising that there was a surge in infections.

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“This variant has been seen in South Africa and although our infection rate is low, most of the ones we are seeing are BA2,” she said.

“It appears this variant is not as severe as the previous ones. In SA, we can expect a fifth wave as we approach winter and it could very well be dominated by this variant,” she said.

“It is so important for us to increase our vaccination rate to ensure that those who do get infected have very mild disease.”

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