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SA now has around 3m people fully vaccinated – Ramaphosa

From the desk of the president.
President Cyril Ramaphosa visiting a vaccination site in Tembisa, Gauteng, aimed to motivate greater numbers of South Africans to embrace vaccination as the most effective way to fight Covid-19. Image: Elmond Jiyane/ GCIS

I had a chance to meet some of the heroes on the frontline of our fight against Covid-19 when I visited two vaccination sites in Tembisa and Midrand last week. These heroes include the health workers administering the vaccines and the many South Africans who are coming forward to be vaccinated and thereby safeguard the health of the nation.

The number of vaccinations administered in South Africa has now passed the 7.5 million mark.

Around three million people are fully vaccinated. At the present rate, we are vaccinating on average 220 000 people a day. In the coming weeks, this rate will increase significantly due to the arrival of more vaccine doses.

Nearly 1.5 million single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccines have been handed to the Department of Health in the last couple of days. Over the past weekend, a donation of 5.66 million Pfizer vaccines from the USA government began arriving in the country.

Read: 10m Covid-19 vaccine doses ‘will be in the country next week’

This is part of a donation of vaccines from the United States to African countries and low- and middle-income countries in other parts of the world.

Our country is also making history. The first Covid-19 vaccines produced in Africa, for Africa, were released by Aspen Pharmacare from its flagship manufacturing plant in Gqeberha last week.

These vaccines will be made available to the rest of the continent through the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team, which we set up during our tenure as African Union chair.

Thanks to the efforts of all involved in the multi-sectoral vaccine acquisition response, we now have a comfortable supply of stocks to vaccinate our population.

The two vaccination sites I visited are among an estimated 3 000 vaccination sites we have set up in the country. These sites are currently providing vaccines to any person above the age of 35, healthcare workers, and employees in participating workplaces.

To meet demand, several sites around the country are now operating on weekends, and many innovations – like vaccination drive-throughs and mobile vaccination units – are in operation.

One of the two vaccination sites I visited is run by the private sector in partnership with government and the other is run by the government, yet both facilities had similar levels of excellent service and professionalism.

Our private sector, including medical schemes, has worked alongside government from the onset of the pandemic, helping to mobilise resources and, most recently, helping us meet our national vaccination targets.

President Cyril Ramaphosa seen greeting Discovery CEO Adrian Gore during a tour of the Gallagher Estate mass vaccination site in Gauteng on Thursday. Image: Adrian Gore’s LinkedIn page

At the Rabasotho Community Centre in Tembisa, I saw government’s Batho Pele principles in action.

The process was efficient and streamlined: from the Covid-19 Vaccination Card people are issued with to help them keep track of their doses, to data-capturing stations, to observation stations with doctors on standby for those who have just received their jab. Importantly, the site has an information area where those presenting for vaccination are given clear information in their own language on the different vaccine options available.

We spoke with Mama Rosemary Mabaso, 67, who had come for her second dose. She said that the staff at the centre had treated her with the utmost care and courtesy and helped allay her initial fears of getting vaccinated.

I am encouraged that so many South Africans accept the need to be vaccinated.

The latest National Income Dynamics Study (NIDS) Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey (CRAM) found that there is increased public openness to accepting a Covid-19 vaccine. Only 1 in 10 South Africans believe that Covid -19 vaccines are unsafe.

The Mathebulas, a couple from Tembisa who had come to the centre together to get vaccinated, told us that they were initially hesitant ‘because of negative stories going around,’ but had decided to follow government’s advice to get vaccinated.

Such expressions of confidence are greatly encouraging, as are the words of Mama Mabasa, who said: “I want to tell everyone out there is no need to be scared; this vaccine is safe, and it is helping us.”

Read: Cape Town’s vaccine manufacture coup

Indeed, vaccines are safe. They are our best protection against this disease and the national vaccination programme is our surest guarantee of a swift health and economic recovery.

I want to encourage South Africans to continue to follow the guidance of the World Health Organisation and our Department of Health around Covid -19 vaccines.

We need to avoid spreading misleading and false information that can cause confusion.

As we work to vaccinate as many people as possible by end of the year, we salute the officials, healthcare workers and staff of the vaccination centres who are working tirelessly to support the national effort.

But by far, the greatest heroes are the South African people, of whose resilience and steadfastness I remain in awe.

Over a year and a half, we have experienced a deadly pandemic, severe economic and social hardship, and recently, serious unrest wrought by those who want to see our country fail.

By going out and getting vaccinated, we aren’t just protecting ourselves. We are performing a patriotic duty to our country and our fellow citizens.

In this great race to preserve human life, let us continue to work together in the interests of the health and welfare of our nation. In this way, we will ensure that recovery is certain.

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So can vaccinated people skip curfew, buy booze and go about their business?

No?

Thought not.
So what’s the point of all this… Other than being less sick they keep punting the vaccine as if it’s a miracle 2021 has been waiting for.

Those punting the vaccine as a miracle end to the pandemic are just wrong. But that being said the importance of getting vaccinated cannot be more emphasised. One of my colleagues in her late thirties died of Covid and most probably had she been vaccinated she could have survived this virus.

If the protection against hospitalisation and death or the reduced transmissibility is not enough for you to get vaccinated then I guess there is nothing that will be enough.

What about the people who are not at risk? Or the people who have already had Covid and have natural antibodies to the dominant strain in SA? (not the outdated strain that the vax was based on)

mmmm…. vaccinated People (after 2 doses) still getting covid in the US …
Interesting how this will play out….

I saw the latest graphs from the UK, covid infections still spiking but the graph of deaths has flatlined.

No scientist or reputable authority has said that you cannot get Covid after getting the vaccine. The vaccine protects against extreme illness and death, this has been evident in the UK as TryingToRetire mentioned.

…yes, but then once vaccinated, the chance of becoming a hospital case greatly reduces / not life threatening in most cases.

How many humans die of polio these days? (or children dying from chicken pox, measles or mumps).
But not the same can be said for a generation or more ago.
I wonder why?

A man made virus needs a man made vaccine.

…since when are bats and Pangolins considered to be human? 😉

(I know, there may be many humans that looks like bats to me, but still…)

There is no consesus on that, Michael. Compelling scientific arguments both ways and with the Chinese in charge the world will never know.

Slitty eyed humans in Wuhan playing with bat virus most likely.
Mind boggling how they don’t get obliterated for it.

And an estimated >20million already exposed/immune to the virus!

Nature works in mysterious ways but it has a track record of working for the greater good. For the susceptible the virus can be delayed by avoidance efforts but the only tried and tested elimination requires herd immunity. There is no immunity from any injection. The susceptible should not have been misled. The severe adverse reactions are not being reported to the public. Avoidable deaths are happening.

…and at the same time, it’s all the unvaccinated that passes on new strains of the virus to others.

Another myth from the multi-billion dollar taxpayer subsidized industry. Herd immunity is a natural occurrence. No myth.

@ Gargoyl. While I partially agree on the herd immunity principle, don’t fall for misinformation campaigns on social media.

Let’s rather believe what is written by medical journals/reports or peer reviews, than ‘anyone’ that is a You Tube medical expert no-one has heard from before.

Many anti-vaccination doctors abroad (that were unknown to the world prior to Covid 19) have their own agendas, if you research their personal careers…many are involved in selling supplements (so they want PR), or were cast out from their medical boards….and now realised they can make more money by spreading misinformation on social media (as the more controversial one’s public videos, the more ‘hits’ it naturally attract, hence more advertising revenue is paid). It’s all about personal gain.

And with a multitude of pharma research companies vying against each other, it’s difficult to believe they’ll conspire together. Like the myths around the ‘fake’ Apollo moon landing…the USA & Russia was in a space race, as competitors. Yet such scientists form a close community watching each other’s moves….surely the Russians scientist would’ve cried foul if USA moon landing was fake. And not a word from 40,000 employees and astronomers in the global industry for the past 50 years kept their silence *lol*).

So the notion that the “industry” is pulling a lie to humanity….THAT would rather be THE MYTH. (otherwise, competitors would’ve cried foul do discredit opponents)

Coming back to herd immunity: before the herd (as global a population) gains immunity, how many will die in the process?
(During the Black Plaque, around 100 million people out of a 500 million total populated died….20%). Does not sound like “immunity” to me….rather the culling of people’s number.

Now stop being a child and visit your vaccination center & get the jab! 🙂

We need to ensure every single man, woman and child gets vaccinated, so that we can put this whole pandemic behind us and start rebuilding quickly. Those that don’t want to be protected, should be jailed as they are putting everyone’s lives at risk – including their very own. Let them not be able to participate in societal events, as they are being selfish by putting everyone’s lives at risk.

Proof of vaccination isn’t enough. These can be forged and counterfeits will swarm society – they refuse vaccination and still want to be around us that are! In stadiums, concerts, planes and trains etc.
Government must work hard to make sure another form of proof is developed. Microchips should suffice, we can kill two birds with one stone this way – all your personal details can be loaded onto this chip, heck even your banking details! No more need for cash and carrying around documents. No need for keys! Just make locks electronic and swipe your chipped wrist at doors, restaurants, hotels. The possibilities are endless!

Extreme circumstances call for extreme measures.

Incredible that such fanatical hatred has been generated. Completely unhinged. Herd immunity comes from the immune system itself, which should not be impeded by untested products because they prevent the natural ability of the body to respond adequately to future strains. You are pushing the one thing that will do far more harm than this new flu, the total disabling of any future herd immunity. Clearly, just like all that have been caught in the headlights of the headlines, you know not what you do.

I was vaccinated on the weekend. Afterwards I found it very strange how a small prick in the arm could be so politicised.

Exactly. Shows you how easily less-informed humans are influenced.

End of comments.

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