High vaccination rate will help prevent high levels of fatalities: Prof Karim

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Renowned epidemiologist, Professor Salim Abdool Karim, has emphasized the importance of South Africa reaching a high vaccination rate, saying it will help prevent high levels of fatalities during a fourth wave of infections.

This as younger age groups continue to queue for COVID-19 vaccines across South Africa.

Professor Karim says countries that have high vaccination rates are able to better withstand the impact of a fourth wave.

“Nobody knows for sure when it is going to come but the reason we need to be prepared for it is because countries like Israel and the UK that have very high vaccine coverage – both those countries have experienced additional waves.”

He adds: “So based on that, even though they are vaccinating, we can expect to get a fourth wave. The vaccinations will lead to a situation where we have very few hospitalisations and much fewer deaths. That is because the vaccines do well against protecting against clinical disease even if some people get breakthrough infections.”

Over nine million vaccines have been administered:

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Karim also says wealthier nations should consider donating more COVID-19 vaccines to poor and developing countries to help raise the global immunity rate.

It comes as some nations consider giving booster shots to their citizens – with the Delta variant continuing to spread among communities.

Professor Karim says there is no concrete scientific evidence to prove that booster shots will further increase people’s immunity against the coronavirus.

“I think what we are seeing is many countries clutching their straws and saying well, let’s give you another vaccine without any solid evidence and for me that is a very bad thing to do. Because it is more important for people to get first doses of the vaccine in other parts of the world than for people to get a third dose of a vaccine.”

“Because they are already protected. So I think it is really inappropriate and scientifically the evidence is very flimsy that booster doses are required,” says Karim.

COVID-19 latest data perspective in SA with Professor Salim Abdool Karim: