South Africans 18 years and older are eager to get to vax sites following the news that they could possibly receive their jabs sooner than they thought.
President Cyril Ramaphosa announced last month that the 18 to 35 cohort would be allowed to register for vaccination from 1 September.
Early this week, however, health minister Dr Joe Phaahla said that the last group of the adult population could begin to receive their jabs by as early as the end of the week.
Phaahla was speaking in a radio interview with 702 on Monday. “We are in further consultation with leaders in cabinet. Probably, if not this week, the latest beginning of next week and no later than Monday,” he said about a possible date.
The decision comes after vaccine sites had been experiencing quiet spells in the past weeks.
South Africa has administered just under 10 million vaccines to date, with 181 862 of these being administered on Tuesday, 17 August.
Allowing the over-18 group to be vaccinated is expected to bolster government’s efforts to vaccinate 40 million South Africans.
A total of 138 997 Pfizer and 42 865 Johnson & Johnson vaccines were administered in the last 24 hours.
‘We are more than ready’
Khazimal Nxu, a 23-year-old student in Cape Town says that she is more than ready to receive her vaccine. She has become frustrated at the rising number of deaths in the news.
“I’m sick and tired of this pandemic claiming lives. I am ready for us to resume our relatively normal lives.”
Nxu added that people are more likely to die because of Covid-19 than of the vaccine’s potential side effects.
Ryan Cloete (22) is pursuing his advanced diploma in journalism at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. He tells Health For Mzansi that everyone in his family became ill except his grandfather, who had been vaccinated.
“I am extremely excited to get a jab because I contracted the virus earlier in June and had the most excruciating headache I’ve ever had. My body was lethargic. Fortunately, I recovered but many others were not so fortunate.”
Medical student Mogau Matlala (22) received his vaccination in June and reported no side effects other than a headache.
“Everyone in my department has been immunised, and they did so of their own free will – male and female,” he says.
Medical students in the faculty of health ad wellness sciences were given earlier opportunity to receive the vaccine. Students were also required to register on the electronic vaccination data system (EVDS) and Sisonke website.
Siphosethu Khumalo (20) says that if vaccination sites are in close proximity to campus or student residences, he would be happy to get the jab. “I am not really in a rush to get vaxxed,” he says.
Sandile Mkhafulo (21) says, “Getting vaccinated means that at least there is an end in sight for this virus, and the vaccine means I am protected. There has been so much misinformation circulating that I don’t know who or what to trust; now I’m taking it upon myself to do what’s right not only for my health but also for the greater good.”
Not all are convinced, though. “The vaccine is still in the experimental phase,” argues Momelezi Ndleleni (25). “My scepticism about the vaccine is that there are no studies that dispel myths that the vaccine may cause erectile dysfunction in the future”.
“So far, I’ve been able to avoid the virus and do not intend to get vaccinated unless it is necessary.”
Numbers continue to climb
Meanwhile, South Africa has recorded 10 685 new Covid-19 cases in the last day, bringing the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 2 624 254, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases said in a recent alert.
“As per the national department of health, a further 553 Covid-19-related deaths have been reported, bringing the total fatalities to 77 993 to date.”
The NICD said most new cases are from the Western Cape (26%), followed by KwaZulu-Natal (21%).
The Eastern Cape accounted for 17% of the new cases, Gauteng for 11%, the Free State, Mpumalanga and Northern Cape for 6% each, North West for 5% and Limpopo for 2%.
“The total number of cases today (10 685) is higher than yesterday (7 983) and lower than the average number of new cases per day over the seven preceding days (11 075). The seven-day moving average daily number of cases has increased,” the NICD said on Tuesday.
There has been an increase of 526 (compared to Monday’s 331) hospital admissions in the past 24 hours.
A total of 15 685 889 tests have been conducted in both public and private sectors.
An official announcement about vaccinations for 18 to 35-year-olds are still awaited.