Government advisor virologist Professor Barry Schoub says COVID-19 vaccines should give immunity for a number of months.
This after Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has given the assurance that government will get COVID-19 vaccines to South Africa by next month.
Professor Schoub says the side-effects of the vaccines are generally rare and mild.
“During the trial stage, vaccines have proven to have an exceptionally good safety profile. The safety and side effects that have been reported have been first of all uncommon and mild. Usually a tender arm for a day or two maybe at a very low temperature. There is one side effect that has caused a little bit of concern. There’s have been reports of quite severe allergic reactions. It’s rare but it seems to be a lot more common compared to other vaccines,” says Schoub.
Rollout of vaccines in SA
The Health Minister says a minimum of 67% of the South African population will have to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to achieve herd immunity.
Unveiling government’s vaccine rollout strategy, the Minister said vaccinating the population would be done in three phases.
Healthcare workers would be vaccinated first, followed by essential workers and people over 60 and those with co-morbidities in the second phase.
The government is still in talks with pharmaceutical companies for a COVID-19 vaccine rollout. “No deals have been signed yet,” the Minister said.
He reacted to growing criticism that government had been slow in securing a coronavirus vaccine, saying government had set up structures to speed up the financing and sourcing of the vaccine.
“The second surge that we are going through is having its impact and it does create a lot of anxiety on the one side. In the letter, I have noticed they made a comment that they were not aware of the information and therefore part of what l feel might be a challenge is that if they may not be having access to information. I think for the general public as well it’s important for us to say that we are managing the situation with an acute awareness of the anxieties, the tension and the urgency that surrounds this matter. So everything will be done by government to expedite the availability of the vaccines.”
In the video below, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mhize provides more clarity on the vaccine rollout strategy for South Africa:
SA COVID-19 stats
As at 03 January 2021, South Africa has recorded 11 859 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the cumulative number to 1 100 748.
402 more people have succumbed to COVID-19 related complications.
This puts the national death toll at 29 577, as seen in the graphic below:
Daily number of hospitalisations
Meanwhile, Dr Ridhwaan Suliman from the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research has noted a rapid increase in the average daily number of hospitalisations and deaths measured over the last week: