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2020/12/122020/12/09 09:15 AM

Change to the rules used by international vaccine alliance Gavi could provide much-needed relief to SA

White House coronavirus adviser Deborah Birx has called on the international Covid-19 vaccine financing vehicle, Covax, to consider expanding its financial support to upper-
middle-income countries such as SA that have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

2020/12/112020/12/15 09:23 AM

South Africa needs an urgent plan to deal with “Long-Covid”, a debilitating medical condition prevalent among Covid-19 survivors.

“Long-Covid” refers to the persistence or development of new Covid-19 symptoms among the survivors, explained seven medical experts whose clinical study has been published by the South African Medical Journal.
2020/12/112020/12/15 09:25 AM

For those with mild-to-moderate cases, which do not require hospitalisation, necessary medications and treatments will be covered by their scheme, says Lerato Mosiah, CEO of the Health Funders Association.

Social media users recently voiced their frustrations over medical aid schemes, with some seeking advice regarding which ones to apply for depending on their benefits.
2020/12/102020/12/15 08:07 AM

The government hopes to receive its first vaccines from the Covax global vaccine distribution scheme in the second quarter of 2021

SA intends to fast track regulatory approval for Covid-19 vaccines and expects the first applications within a fortnight, the SA Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) has said, as the country faces a second wave of infections.
2020/12/102020/12/15 08:09 AM

Health minister Zweli Mkhize announced on Wednesday that SA is now its second wave of Covid-19 infections, in the same week that results of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine trial were published in international medical journal The Lancet.

With more than 6000 new cases reported in SA in the latest 24-hour cycle, the quest for a vaccine is top of mind for scientists.
2020/12/102020/12/15 08:11 AM

With South Africa officially dealing with a second wave of COVID-19 infections, government has been urged to secure early access to large quantities of a COVID-19 vaccine as more candidates prove safe and effective.

This as the Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine gets positive peer-reviewed results.
2020/12/102020/12/15 09:30 AM

A critically understaffed public healthcare system will not be ready for the implementation of the National Health Insurance.

That’s the view of South African Medical Association (SAMA) chairperson Dr Angelique Coetzee.
2020/12/092020/12/15 09:19 AM

US vaccine regulators released Tuesday the most detailed look yet at a leading coronavirus vaccine candidate, outlining the safety and side effects seen in a massive clinical trial.

Overall, the findings are positive, with the study suggesting no major safety concerns for Pfizer's vaccine. Most immunized volunteers had temporary side effects shortly after being vaccinated. Those side effects included fatigue, headache, and pain at injection site.
2020/12/092020/12/15 09:27 AM

SA has entered its second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, driven by rising infections in the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, health minister Zweli Mkhize has said.

SA had only seen cluster outbreaks in some areas, fuelling hope that the country, set for its biggest economic slump in about a century, would be spared new damaging restrictions that have been seen in other parts of the world. The situation has since worsened, with 6,709 new cases on Wednesday, a sharp increase from September when daily infections fell as low as 1,000, Mkhize said.
2020/12/082020/12/15 08:13 AM

President Cyril Ramaphosa has provided an overview of the ANC’s plans for the country after the party’s national executive committee met over the weekend.

Ramaphosa indicated that the meeting covered a number of issues, including the economy, corruption, land and reforms. However, the bulk of the discussion appears to have focused on the coronavirus pandemic and the country’s economic recovery plan.
2020/12/082020/12/15 09:21 AM

SA’s largest pharmaceutical retailer Clicks says it is in talks with the government to help distribute vaccines for the coronavirus once they are available.

This comes as major vaccine developers await approval from medical authorities and as parts of South Africa are in the grips of a second wave of infection. More than 22,200 people have now died from Covid-19 in South Africa.
2020/12/082020/12/15 09:28 AM

Prepaid vouchers for GP consultations, similar to prepaid cellphone accounts, constitutes a marked shift for Discovery Health, which typically aims at higher-income customers.

Whether this will work in the context of healthcare with the same success as it did in the cellphone context is a contested issue, since this type of healthcare payment is almost unheard of, but it could potentially help millions of poorer patients.
2020/12/072020/12/15 09:17 AM

The government has paid an initial amount of R327m through the Solidarity Fund for vaccines that will cover 10% of the population

SA will probably take its first delivery of coronavirus vaccines by the middle of 2021 after agreeing on an initial payment, the health ministry said.

2020/12/072020/12/15 09:22 AM

Vaccines are used as a preventative measure to prepare immune systems to fight off diseases and ideally prevent further infections but treatments are typically used when patients are already sick with a certain disease.

The clinical pharmacologist, who cannot be named as yet due to contractual obligations, lectures part-time and is a research fellow at the Durban University of Technology.
2020/12/072020/12/15 09:26 AM

“Vaccine nationalism” has fast become a catchphrase of the year of the pandemic, with several countries expressing fears that leaders will prioritise their own nations at the expense of the rest of the world.

SA and India are now trying to stave this off by suggesting a patent ban so access to vaccines and treatment for Covid-19 is fair.
2020/12/042020/12/09 09:34 AM

The Moderna Covid-19 vaccine, which was recently demonstrated to have 94 percent efficacy, causes the human immune system to produce potent antibodies that endure for at least three months, a study showed Thursday.

Researchers at the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which co-developed the drug, studied the immune response of 34 adult participants, young and old, from the first stage of a clinical trial.
2020/12/032020/12/09 09:59 AM

The African country with the worst confirmed coronavirus outbreak is yet to provide clarity on how it plans to order vaccines, even as the global race to secure inoculations accelerates.

South Africa is hosting three trials, including for Johnson & Johnson and a partnership between AstraZeneca Plc and the University of Oxford, yet hasn’t announced a firm strategy to immunize a population that’s bracing for a potential resurgence of the pandemic.
2020/12/022020/12/09 09:31 AM

The UK became the first western country to approve a Covid-19 vaccine, with its regulator clearing Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE’s shot ahead of decisions in the US and European Union.

The emergency authorization clears the way for the deployment of a vaccine that Pfizer and its German partner have said is 95% effective in preventing illness. The shot will be available in Britain from next week, according to a government statement Wednesday.
2020/12/09 09:33 AM

The UK became the first western country to approve a Covid-19 vaccine, with its regulator clearing Pfizer and BioNTech’s shot ahead of decisions in the US and EU.

The emergency authorisation clears the way for the deployment of a vaccine that Pfizer and its German partner have said is 95% effective in preventing illness. The shot will be available in Britain from next week, according to a government statement on Wednesday.
2020/11/202020/11/24 07:55 AM

The company says it has the capacity to make 20-million to 30-million vaccines a year, depending on the technology involved

State-backed vaccine developer Biovac is in discussion with several pharmaceutical companies developing Covid-19 vaccines to potentially manufacture shots in SA, CEO Morena Makhoana said on Thursday.
2020/11/192020/11/24 07:53 AM

Government has to sign up to an international financing agreement called Covax to access the shots.

The government’s advisers on coronavirus vaccines have recommended that it sign up to the international financing vehicle Covax under a “committed purchase agreement” that could result in SA initially receiving only enough shots to immunise frontline health-care workers and people in care facilities.
2020/11/24 07:59 AM

Despite delays caused by the coronavirus lockdown, government is making steady progress in its planned implementation of a new National Health Insurance (NHI).

In its annual report presented to parliament on Wednesday, the National Department of Health said that the NHI Bill is currently being considered by parliament and that an official NHI Office can only be established after the bill is passed into law.
2020/11/192020/11/24 08:02 AM

In the immediate run-up to South Africa's first peak in coronavirus infections and deaths attributed to Covid-19, spending by medical schemes declined, new data shows.

In the three months to the end of June, the "net relevant healthcare expenditure" per medical aid beneficiary per month was R1,474, the Council for Medical Schemes (CMS) said in a summary of the quarterly filings it received from funds.
2020/11/182020/11/24 07:52 AM

Hailed this week as a pandemic game-changer, the new COVID-19 vaccine offered countries that had pre-ordered doses a potential escape from a cycle of lockdowns and new waves of sickness and death.

But while richer nations plan their vaccination programmes through the end of 2021, experts warn that poorer and developing countries face hurdles that could deny billions the first proven protection against the coronavirus.
2020/11/172020/11/24 07:51 AM

Moderna Inc's experimental vaccine is 94.5% effective in preventing Covid-19 based on interim data from a late-stage trial, the company said on Monday, becoming the second US drugmaker to report results that far exceed expectations.

Together with Pfizer Inc's vaccine, which is also more than 90% effective, and pending more safety data and regulatory review, the US could have two vaccines authorised for emergency use in December with as many as 60 million doses of vaccine available this year.
2020/11/162020/11/24 08:00 AM

Acknowledging fears of corruption and maladministration in the proposed National Health Insurance Fund, predicted to receive up to R3-billion a week once it is in operation, the fund’s developer Dr Nicholas Crisp, says they will do all they can to design a corruption-proof system. Though it is never impossible ‘to plunder’, they will try to make it as difficult as possible.

While they cannot exclude the possibility that the massive National Health Insurance Fund — predicted to receive as much as R3-billion a week once it is in operation — will be impossible to “plunder”, they are trying their best to make it extremely difficult to do so, said public health consultant and developer of the National Health Insurance Dr Nicholas Crisp.
2020/11/162020/11/24 08:01 AM

Council for Medical Schemes reports first accumulated deficit in more than a decade.

The cash-strapped medical schemes regulator spent R11.3m in unbudgeted funds on a high-profile probe into allegations of racial profiling by medical schemes and administrators investigating fraud, it emerged last week.
2020/11/152020/11/24 07:56 AM

Don’t pin your hopes on the Covid-19 vaccine announced this week, South Africans have been told.

The chance of SA getting a significant volume of the vaccine in the next few months is “extremely unlikely”, said Wits University professor of vaccinology Shabir Madhi. “The most highly optimistic projection is that we’d be fortunate to get any by the end of the second quarter next year.”
2020/11/24 07:58 AM

Stocks opened the week on the front foot on the JSE after US multinational corporation Pfizer and German company BioNTech announced on Monday that their joint vaccine might lead to a breakthrough in the treatment of Covid-19.

Pfizer’s early analysis showed that the vaccine candidate was more than 90 percent effective and had outperformed expectations in the crucial phase 3 trials.
2020/11/062020/11/10 09:48 AM

Deputy Health Minister Joe Phaahla says the government’s proposed National Health Insurance (NHI) “will go a long way” to prepare the country for future pandemics.

On Thursday, he told delegates in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) the NHI would remove the division between the public and private sector ensuring a much quicker response to major pandemics like Covid-19.
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