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2021/09/102021/09/13 11:09 AM

A week from now, all vaccinated South Africans will be eligible for a digital vaccination certificate, which the department of health says is “now under development”.

On Friday morning, health minister Dr Joe Phaahla said, “We have commenced with the development of the digital vaccination certificate which will be protected from fraud.”
2021/09/102021/09/13 11:11 AM

Within "maybe a week", South Africans will have access to a government-issued digital certificate to prove that they have been vaccinated against Covid-19, health minister Joe Phaahla said on Friday.

The travel industry previously warned that South Africans going abroad could face huge frustrations without such certificates. This week, the government announced the "Return to Play" campaign, which will encourage vaccination by giving those who have had their shots preferential access to public venues – with the prospect that unvaccinated people may be barred from some places.
2021/09/092021/09/13 10:52 AM

Millions of frontline workers received their Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine under the Sisonke Covid-19 vaccine trial.

Gray says the boosts are meant to extend the vaccine’s durability.
2021/09/092021/09/13 10:53 AM

The side effects of the Covid-19 Pfizer-BioNTech are mild and disappear quickly in children with comorbidities aged between 12 and 15 years.

The study published in Archives of Disease in Childhood assessed the side effects of the Pfizer vaccine in children with a high risk of severe Covid-19 because of pre-existing conditions.
2021/09/092021/09/13 11:01 AM

Wits University professor of vaccinology Dr Shabir Madhi says regulations on mandatory vaccination would be a good idea as it will protect people the pandemic.

However, some say this would be in violation of people’s rights.
2021/09/092021/09/13 11:03 AM

The need for mandatory vaccination is gaining a wider appeal as businesses are pinning their hopes of getting back to normal once herd immunity is achieved, says the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber.

Importantly, this would help marginally restore their operations and resuscitate the ailing economy, the group said.
2021/09/092021/09/13 11:06 AM

The National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) has said that it is highly likely that Covid-19 vaccinations will need to be administered yearly in the form of a booster shot.

This is the result of the evolution of more Covid-19 strains that diminish antibody reactions to vaccines, combined with the fact that the antibodies deteriorate over time.
2021/09/082021/09/13 10:17 AM

Despite the emergence of the Covid-19 variant scientifically known as B.1.621 or “Mu”, the World Health Organization says the Delta variant remains the most concerning because of its increased transmissibility.

WHO technical lead for Covid-19, Maria Van Kerkhove said that although the Mu variant had mutations, similar to the Beta variant, which could evade the immune protection provided by natural infection or vaccination, the variant hadn’t taken off like Delta.
2021/09/082021/09/13 10:50 AM

Talks are under way with Johnson & Johnson about running a booster trial in South Africa after the company’s Covid-19 vaccine was used in a mass trial of almost half a million health workers in the country.

The trial will include participants from that study, known as Sisonke, and could possibly start in October, according to Glenda Gray, who is co-lead of the mass trial. It will add to a booster study in the country using ImmunityBio’s shot that has already started.
2021/09/082021/09/13 11:14 AM

Despite an 8.5% GDP spend on health care, South Africa is among the worst-performing countries in the world regarding health outcomes, says Dr Nicholas Crisp: deputy director-general of the National Health Insurance (NHI).

Speaking on a recent panel about rare diseases, Crisp said that all healthcare providers, public and private, should be accessible to everybody purely based on their healthcare needs.
2021/09/082021/09/13 11:19 AM

Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Health faces some tough decisions after it received more than 100,000 submissions on the National Health Insurance Bill. At one end of the spectrum are those who have given unconditional support to the bill, and at the other end are those opposed to the bill in its entirety. In between are those who support the bill conditionally, provided certain concerns are addressed.

The National Health Insurance Bill was introduced in Parliament in August 2019. The portfolio committee on health (PCH) invited interested parties to forward submissions on the bill and conducted a series of public hearings across the country to obtain direct public input.
2021/09/072021/09/13 11:16 AM

Trade union Solidarity has published a new report showing that the burden on South African taxpayers could double if the White Paper on the National Health Insurance (NHI) is accepted and the Green Paper on social security is implemented after being reviewed.

According to the report, South Africans pay incredibly high taxes in global terms, while the government generally fails to fulfil its side of the social contract. The report revealed that the tax to GDP ratio in South Africa is the second-highest in the world, after Sweden.
2021/09/062021/09/13 10:47 AM

The National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) on Monday said they were watching a new variant of Covid-19 which has been named Mu.

In a statement, they said the World Health Organisation (WHO) has recently classified the PANGO lineage B.1.621 as a variant of interest (VOI) and assigned it the Greek name “Mu”.
2021/09/13 10:48 AM

NICD confident both vaccines being rolled out in the county will be effective against new variant of interest Mu.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) said it’s confident that vaccines currently being rolled out in South Africa will have high levels of protection against newly identified Covid variant “Mu”.
2021/08/202021/08/23 01:29 PM

On Wednesday, the WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he was "stunned" to hear that J&J vaccines were being exported from South Africa to the EU, because the bloc has very high vaccination rates while even the most vulnerable people in many African countries have not been vaccinated.

A spokesperson for the European Commission told reporters on Thursday the agreement with South Africa was reached after J&J faced problems in producing vaccines in the United States at a factory belonging to its partner Emergent Biosolutions.
2021/08/202021/08/23 01:32 PM

South Africa’s medical regulatory body has received an application for the Russian vaccine, called Sputnik V. But it hasn’t yet made a decision on whether to approve the jab.

The answer to why not, lies in the questions outlined below.
2021/08/192021/08/23 01:17 PM

The fear of Covid-19 vaccine side-effects is the most significant driving force behind vaccine hesitancy in South Africa, according to a new report.

This is one of the findings of a report released on Wednesday by the Centre for Social Change at the University of Johannesburg and the Human Sciences Research Council.
2021/08/192021/08/23 01:19 PM

The latest survey on South Africans’ vaccine acceptance and hesitancy paints a picture of a complex situation, not easily explained away by conspiracy theories or influence of social media.

Findings from the fourth round of the Covid-19 Democracy Survey, undertaken by the Centre for Social Change at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) in collaboration with the Human Sciences Research Council, show vaccine acceptance increased from 67% to 72% in the latest round of the survey during June/July, time of the peak of the third wave of Covid-19 infections.
2021/08/192021/08/23 01:20 PM

SA is still far from meeting its target of reaching 70% of the population

Alarmed by a slowdown in the uptake of Covid-19 vaccines, the cabinet on Wednesday discussed measures to resuscitate the campaign, including opening the process to 18-year-olds weeks in advance.
2021/08/192021/08/23 01:23 PM

An infectious diseases expert has stressed that the coronavirus vaccines are the absolute key tools in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

South Africa has so far administered more than 9.5 million vaccine shots as part of the nation's mass inoculation drive.
2021/08/192021/08/23 01:24 PM

Nobody has died as a result of COVID vaccines in South Africa, according to the country’s medicines regulator, the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra), which monitors side-effects.

Fifty-three deaths of people who had been vaccinated against COVID had been reported to Sahpra between May 17 and July 31 — 0.0007% of the 7 059 283 doses administered in that period. (This data excludes side-effects or deaths reported for the Sisonke study, for which the last doses were administered on May 16).
2021/08/192021/08/23 01:27 PM

As many as four out of five South Africans may have contracted the coronavirus, indicating that the country may be one of the world’s hardest-hit nations by the disease, the chief actuary at Africa’s biggest health insurer said.

Emile Stipp, the actuary at Discovery Health, based his calculations on the country’s case-fatality rate and excess deaths, a measure of the number of fatalities compared with an historical average.
2021/08/172021/08/23 01:30 PM

It’s being reported that Johnson & Johnson has been exporting millions of vaccine doses that were bottled and packaged here in South Africa for distribution in Europe.

According to the New York Times, the New Jersey-based company agreed to sell enough of its single-shot vaccines to eventually inoculate a third of Africans against COVID-19.
2021/08/162021/08/23 01:25 PM

The emergence of the deadly Delta variant in South Africa has meant that the country is much further away from reaching herd immunity. That’s according to the head of the Centre for Vaccines and Immunology at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), Dr Melinda Suchard.

As of last week, 7.25 million people received vaccinations, of which only four million are fully vaccinated.
2021/07/282021/07/05 11:48 AM

A few days before the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) hands over its report to President Cyril Ramaphosa on the Digital Vibes tender, there are reports that Dr Zweli Mkhize, the health minister who is currently on special leave, put pressure on department officials to issue it.

A weekend newspaper reported that Mkhize allegedly “pressured” departmental officials to award the controversial R150 million tender to the company owned by Taheera Mather and Naadhira Mitha, who are alleged to be friends of Mkhize and his family.
2021/07/272021/07/05 11:46 AM

Science can be a strange beast at times: But the latest pandemic developments in South Africa may reopen a door for the use of AstraZeneca vaccines.

The AstraZeneca rollercoaster is firing itself up for another journey: After being dismissed as ‘ineffective’ against the previous strain of COVID-19 that dominated infections in SA, the Oxford-produced jab may soon find itself being brought back in from the cold – and it’s all thanks to our rapidly-changing coronavirus landscape.
2021/07/092021/07/12 11:24 AM

The latest Nids-Cram survey of Covid-19 impacts also reveals very high levels of depression. It reveals South Africa’s economic recovery is K-shaped — or highly unequal.
South Africans appear to be among the most vaccine-enthusiastic people on Earth. In the latest Nids-Cram survey out today, 8 July, almost 80% of those surveyed said they would accept a vaccine.
2021/07/092021/07/12 11:25 AM

South Africa's Covid-19 vaccine rollout is being constrained by site closures over weekends. This is set to change on 1 August, with the department of health announcing that public vaccination sites will operate on Saturdays and Sundays, with the aim to reach 300,000 people a day.

South Africa's vaccine rollout, which aims to reach 67% of the population before May 2022, is behind target. Disruptions to the mass immunisation programme have resulted in regulatory delays and supply constraints. And while these issues have been overcome – increasing the uptake to its highest levels in recent days – the country's inability to keep momentum over the weekend has added further pressure to the 2022 deadline.
2021/07/092021/07/12 11:30 AM

Acting health minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane has announced a major boost to South Africa’s Covid-19 vaccination plans, with vaccines now being made available to more age groups and on weekends.

In a media briefing on Friday morning (9 July), Kubayi-Ngubane said that her department held talks with Treasury this week around funding for human capital to allow for vaccinations on weekends, with finances now secured. She said that the start date for weekend vaccinations will be around 1 August.
2021/07/092021/07/12 11:35 AM

Pfizer and BioNTech announced they would seek authorisation for a third dose of their Covid-19 vaccine to boost its efficacy, as the Delta variant drove devastating outbreaks in Asia and Africa and cases rose again in Europe and the United States.

With the pandemic once again wreaking havoc, Japan banned fans from most Olympic events and placed Tokyo under a virus state of emergency throughout the Games just two weeks before the opening ceremony.
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