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2021/04/092021/04/12 11:31 AM

Unit Director of the HIV Prevention Research Unit at the South African Medical Research Council, Professor Ameena Goga, says they expect to have concluded with the Johnson and Johnson vaccine Sisonke protocol study by the end of April and first week in May.

Thereafter they will collate the findings and release a report as the country gears up to begin the second phase of its vaccination campaign, targeting the elderly and essential workers, which is expected to commence on May 17th.
2021/04/092021/04/12 11:33 AM

Health minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize, has announced that the second phase of the country’s vaccination rollout will begin on 17 May.

This, he announced in Gauteng on Thursday, was owing to the millions of vaccine doses that are expected to land in South Africa in the next coming weeks.
2021/04/092021/04/12 11:34 AM

Labour union, Nehawu, has raised concerns about the delays in the delivery of procured vaccines by suppliers. The union says the delivery needs to be expedited in order to meet the target of vaccinating members of the public.

Nehawu President, Mzwandile Makwayiba, says they anticipated that by this time, more healthcare workers would have been vaccinated, and the next phase already commenced.
2021/04/092021/04/12 11:40 AM

SA is considering a “no-fault compensation fund” and the introduction of Covid-19 vaccine passports, health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said on Thursday.

The minister said while the focus was on ramping up the current vaccine rollout — and aiming towards being able to vaccinate 250,000 people a day at the peak of the rollout — there were also discussions into other aspect of the vaccine programme.
2021/04/082021/04/12 11:05 AM

More than 9-million COVID vaccines are heading for South Africa between April and June, but no companies have yet been put in charge of distributing the jabs nationally.

The Biologicals and Vaccines Institute of Southern Africa (Biovac) was awarded the contract to import (this involves receiving the vaccines at the airport and putting them through customs), transport and distribute the AstraZeneca jabs that South Africa bought, but the health department then decided not to use the jabs and switch to Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) and Pfizer/BioNTech’s jabs. This came after a small study showed that the AstraZeneca vaccines performed poorly against mild to moderate COVID caused by the 501Y.V2 variant that is now dominant in South Africa.
2021/04/082021/04/12 11:39 AM

The Solidarity Fund's health pillar co-lead, Dr Gugu Ngubane, says the funding initiative will now focus on strengthening capacity and ensuring rapid availability of resources for a successful rollout of Covid-19 vaccines to achieve herd immunity.

The pledge by the fund comes as the government gears up for the rollout of vaccines to the rest of the population after the initial phase targeting health-care workers.
2021/04/082021/04/12 11:42 AM

Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize says one of the glaring lessons highlighted by the deadly Covid-19 pandemic is the urgent need for universal health coverage (UHC) to ensure no-one is left behind.

“The implementation of the National Health Insurance (NHI) is seen as a critical intervention that will assist in restructuring the core components of the health system.
2021/04/072021/04/12 11:03 AM

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said that his department was working on a "revised strategy" for the mass vaccination programme, drawing on lessons from the inoculation of healthcare workers.

In a statement released on Tuesday night, Mkhize also confirmed that government had signed a crucial contract with Pfizer for 20 million vaccine doses.
2021/04/12 11:06 AM

South Africa has signed an agreement with Pfizer Inc for 20 million dual shot Covid-19 vaccine doses, a government official told Reuters on Tuesday, boosting plans to start mass vaccinations from April.

The deal is another fillip for the country worst hit by Covid-19 infections in Africa as it adds to the 31 million single-shot doses from Johnson & Johnson which the government approved on Thursday.
2021/04/062021/04/12 11:30 AM

South Africa has finalised a deal that will see it supplied with 20 million shots of the Covid-19 vaccine produced by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE with deliveries starting mid-April, allowing it to begin a broad roll-out of inoculations, Business Day reported, citing the country’s Department of Health.

The deal had been delayed by Pfizer’s insistence that South Africa’s health and finance ministers personally sign the pact, which includes indemnity clauses to protect the company, according to correspondence between the ministers seen by Bloomberg and confirmed by the National Treasury.
2021/04/062021/04/12 11:31 AM

The government expects to take delivery of its first one-million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s commercially produced Covid-19 vaccine in two weeks time, health minister Zweli Mkhize announced on Thursday.

Combined with supplies expected from Pfizer before the end of April, this will enable the government to finish vaccinating healthcare workers and move into the next stage of inoculating the over 60s, he said.
2021/04/062021/04/12 11:32 AM

Healthcare workers who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine could require a booster shot.

According to vaccinologist and Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at Wits University, Professor Shabir Madhi, the duration of protection of the J&J vaccine lasts for a period of between 60 and 70 days.
2021/04/062021/04/12 11:41 AM

Following the settlement in four different cases to gain access to ivermectin for the treatment of Covid-19 in South Africa, the high court in Pretoria has also ordered that small batches of custom-made medicine containing ivermectin can now be legally prescribed “off-label” for the treatment of specific patients with Covid-19.

This has effectively provided another avenue to access the drug other than applying to use it through the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority’s (SAHPRA) compassionate programme.
2021/03/262021/03/26 06:15 PM

As South Africa marks a year in lockdown the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) says the country should pay tribute to healthcare workers.

The NICD's deputy director, Professor Lucille Blumberg, says South Africa's medical fraternity has done an incredible job on the frontline of the Covid-19 pandemic.
2021/03/262021/03/26 06:20 PM

The resignation of government’s chief adviser on Covid-19 Professor Salim Abdool Karim has elicited mixed reactions, with the EFF labelling him “Dr Death” while other stakeholders believe it would be a great loss to the country.

In a scathing media statement yesterday, the EFF said it welcomed “the long overdue resignation of the incompetent and overrated “Dr Death”, referring to Karim, who was the co-chairpeson of Covid-19’s ministerial advisory committee with Professor Marian Jacobs.
2021/03/262021/03/26 06:21 PM

Prof Koleka Mlisana has been appointed to replace Prof Salim Abdool Karim as co-chair of the ministerial advisory committee (MAC) on Covid-19 after his one-year term came to an end this week.

In a statement, Abdool Karim said he was stepping down to focus on his other academic work.
2021/03/252021/03/26 05:12 PM

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has assured South Africans that millions more Covid-19 vaccines will arrive between April and June.

Speaking on SABC TV News on Wednesday evening, Mkhize downplayed concerns over the delays of the Covid-19 rollout in the country.
2021/03/252021/03/26 05:47 PM

The last 200 000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine that form part of the Sisonke Ensemble study are expected in the country in the next two weeks.

Addressing the parliamentary health portfolio committee on Wednesday, Professor Glenda Gray - the chief executive of the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) and lead investigator of the J&J trials - said the vaccines were being shipped from the US.
2021/03/252021/03/26 05:48 PM

South Africa’s second phase of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout will begin in May.

Cabinet on Thursday announced that this would be implemented over a period of six months, targeting more than 13 million South Africans.
2021/03/252021/03/26 05:53 PM

According to the Solidarity Fund, the Health Department had made a request to a consortium of donors seeking funding for technical assistance to the national and provincial departments.

The Solidarity Fund said that it was in advanced discussions with the Department of Health following a request for funding contributions to the vaccination programme.
2021/03/252021/03/26 05:54 PM

The Solidarity Fund, which was founded in March last year to help fight the Covid-19 pandemic is considering injecting R69 million on technical support for vaccine roll-out.

The fund’s chairperson Gloria Serobe said the vaccine provides new hope in the fight against the pandemic.
2021/03/252021/03/26 06:01 PM

This is a clear admission that will miss its previously set target to vaccinate 67% of the population by the end of the year, as promised by Health Minister Zweli Mkhize.

Phase 3 of government’s vaccination plan will be implemented over three months, between November 2021 and February 2022.
2021/03/252021/03/26 06:03 PM

Essential workers to get the jab from May, phase 3 to start in November

The national coronavirus command council (NCCC) is considering proposals on how to manage the spread of the coronavirus over the Easter holidays, acting minister in the presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni has confirmed.
2021/03/252021/03/26 06:04 PM

Senior Researcher at Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Dr Ridhwaan Suliman, says from his observations, South Africa’s response to the epidemic has been reactive instead of proactive.

“Except for the early level 5 hard lockdown, generally South Africa has responded when we’ve experienced surges. While case numbers are low and manageable, we can now go out and proactively see where there are outbreaks, where there are resurgences, and control those clusters before they spread,” he said.
2021/03/252021/03/26 06:17 PM

China is ready and willing to provide much-needed Covid-19 vaccines to South Africa, as long as local legal frameworks and requirements are met, Chinese Ambassador Chen Xiaodong has said.

The Chinese top diplomat made the remarks during a virtual seminar hosted by international asset management company Ninety One on Wednesday.
2021/03/242021/03/26 05:10 PM

The J&J/Janssen Covid-19 vaccine — manufactured by Janssen Pharmaceuticals Companies of Johnson & Johnson — shows an efficacy rate of 85% against the emerging global Covid-19 variants.

In South Africa, the Janssen Covid-19 vaccine shows an 82% efficacy rate against severe Covid-19 infections, where the majority of trials (95%) were conducted on the 501Y.V2 (or B.1.351) Covid-19 variant.
2021/03/242021/03/26 06:05 PM

A statistical analysis by researchers at the Nelson Mandela University has indicated that a third Covid-19 wave could impact the two big Eastern Cape metropolitans of Nelson Mandela Bay and Buffalo City by the end of March or the beginning of April.

In a column for the Sunday Times, Professors Azwinndini Muronga and Darelle van Greunen said that they are confident of the prediction as it is based on a range of local and regional data and on a year of national modelling.
2021/03/242021/03/26 06:08 PM

The health department says it has no mathematical models to help it establish when South Africans can brace themselves for the third wave of Covid-19 infections, but has warned against flouting safety protocols during Easter.

“We should all learn from the way we managed the festive season and go into Easter as citizens with the same determination to stick to health protocols [and avoid] crowding, social distance, sanitise and wear masks,” spokesperson Lwazi Manzi told TimesLIVE on Tuesday.
2021/03/232021/03/26 06:09 PM
A South African business lobby group called on Monday for the government to shift the emphasis on its vaccine programme to target the elderly and vulnerable sooner, to prevent hospitals being overrun in a third wave of Covid-19 infections.

South Africa is behind schedule in the first phase of its vaccination programme, aimed at inoculating health care workers. Those over 60 or with co-morbidities are not meant to be vaccinated until a later second phase, along with other essential workers and people who work in crowded settings.
2021/03/222021/03/26 06:16 PM

A growing frustration by business was clear when Shoprite CEO Pieter Engelbrecht said SA’s private sector should be allowed to secure vaccines in a bid to speed up the rollout.

He told BizTech that Shoprite “would certainly purchase for our employees to get those frontline people vaccinated as quickly as possible.”
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