Unvaccinated youth urged to get COVID-19 injection as fourth wave fears mount

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The Health Department’s Acting Director-General, Dr Nicholas Crisp, has reiterated the call for unvaccinated youth to get the COVID-19 vaccine, saying it could help protect them and their loved ones when the fourth wave hits the country.

South Africa has requested Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer to delay deliveries of COVID-19 vaccines due to an oversupply of stock.

Dr Crisp says South Africa still has over 16 million doses in stock.

He has again warned that the next coronavirus wave is likely to hit the country over the festive season.

“Some of the social listing we have heard is that young people just aren’t interested in anything that the government says and want to do and regard this as a government campaign rather than something to protect themselves and their families. That is most unfortunate and the negative messaging that is out there is extremely destructive. So, I think it is a more complicated dynamic. But the bottom line is that we are going to get a fourth wave. We are seeing an uptick so we can expect that at some point, we are going to start to enter a dangerous period,” says Dr Crisp.

Vaccine hesitancy

Dr Crisp has also expressed concern about vaccine hesitancy among some young people.

“Over 65% of people over 60 have already had at least one dose, now 60% of the over 50s have been vaccinated. But as one goes down and into the population of the 18s to 35s and the 35s to 49s, the rate drops dramatically. So only about a quarter of young people between the ages of 18 and 35 have been vaccinated and there has been ample opportunity for that group. They seem to follow social media or be very dissuaded by the negative comments and disinformation and poor facts that are in that space.”

Fourth wave
South Africa could experience a fourth wave of COVID-19 infections in the middle of next month and early January.

This is according to Health Minister Joe Phaahla.

Earlier this month, Phaahla announced that the Sisonke 2 booster trial is set to kick off soon for healthcare workers, who only received one vaccine shot at the start of the country’s vaccination programme.

Members of the public who also received J&J vaccines will eventually receive their booster shot once the trial is underway.

Phaahla says healthcare workers are being targeted for booster shots to help them to cope with the coming wave.

Meanwhile, according to the latest report from the South African COVID-19 Modelling Consortium scientists, hospital admissions and deaths during South Africa’s expected fourth wave of COVID-19 infections are projected to be considerably smaller than those of previous waves.

CEO of Higher Health, Professor Ramneek Ahluwalia elaborates:

SA’s COVID-19 stats 

To date, about 35% of South Africans are fully vaccinated.

Meanwhile, the country has recorded 1275 new COVID-19 cases, which brings the total number of infections to 2 950 035.

This increase represents a 3.6% positivity rate. A further 22 COVID-19 related deaths have been reported, bringing total fatalities to 89 657 to date.

Latest SA stats:

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