The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) says, the coronavirus will never fully disappear – but mass vaccination will assist in minimising the deaths and hospitalisations in the years to come. This comes as many scientists questions if South Africa and any other country in the world- will ever reach population immunity, especially with the highly infectious Delta variant.
Government initially intended to vaccinate 66% of the population – but that target is not even close to being achieved with just over 10% of the adult population now fully vaccinated.
Dr. Melinda Suchard, head of the Centre for Vaccines and Immunology at the NICD, explains:
“It’s very likely that the virus is going to become part of viruses that circulate and make people ill but not at epidemic levels. Viruses like influenza, it’s relatively few people every year. It’s very likely that it’s going to happen to SARS COV-2. It will continue to circulate, there will always be some people catching it in any season but those that are vaccinated will not suffer from severe illness or death. SARS COV-2 is going to be with us for a long time, years.”
Meanwhile, a senior official at the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned against stigmatization that could emerge as the divide between vaccinated and unvaccinated people within communities or societies grows.
This sentiment was echoed by an official at GAVI- The Vaccine Alliance who reiterated their view that vaccinations were an individual choice despite the urgent public health implications not getting vaccinated might have.
This, as the federal government, the military, companies, and cities in the United States increasingly demand employees are vaccinated to be able to return to work or mandate it for entry into indoor facilities like restaurants and gyms.
The video below has more on the report on the divide between vaccinated and unvaccinated: