Professor of Vaccinology at the University of the Witwatersrand, Shabir Madhi, has urged all South Africans to get the COVID-19 vaccine when they are eligible, saying it will substantially reduce the chance of severe illness and hospitalisation.

Workers in the education sector are getting the single-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

People over the age of 60 are currently getting the two-dose Pfizer vaccine and over 50s are encouraged to register for vaccines, which should be administered in the middle of this month.

Madhi says Sinovac’s CoronaVac shot from China may not be as effective as the Pfizer vaccine, but it will assist in reducing the number of cases of severe illness.

“The Sinovac vaccine is probably going to protect against severe disease because it seems that it is able to do obviously not 100%. Even Johnson and Johnson is about 80% against severe disease. The teacher unions were asking from the top of the mountain about their members and now you find that they are reluctant to be vaccinated. It is extremely disappointing especially for students.”

In the video below, Professor Madhi speaks about South Africa breaching the 2 million mark in terms of overall COVID-19 cases recorded:

Side-effects

The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) is taking notice of side-effects related to the CoronaVac vaccine, which they say are moderate.

CoronaVac is a double-dose vaccine for people aged between the ages of 18 to 59. The doses will be given between 14 to 28 days apart.

SAHPRA CEO Dr Boitumelo Semete-Makokotlela says, “Most of the side effects following administration of the CoronaVac vaccine we mild or moderate in nature and cleared within a couple of days. Frequently reported adverse reactions were on the side of injection, headache, fatigue, muscle pain, diarrhoea and nausea. In particular, any data on the efficacy or effectiveness of the vaccine against disease caused by the emerging SARS variants of concern shall be provided to the regulator.”

VIDEO: Progressive Health Forum Convener, Dr Aslam Dasoo welcomes the news that SAHPRA has approved:

Additional reporting by Prabashini Moodley.