Head of the Western Cape Health Department, Dr. Keith Cloete, says they are working on introducing a vaccine, to combat the coronavirus (COVID-19), early in the new year.
He was addressing a virtual media briefing on COVID-19. Cloete says the new variant is providing challenges.
“Is there a suggestion that this is more severe than the first one. We do not know at this stage if it is re-infecting people who have had COVID before. We do not know. The question is will the vaccine that’s coming online work against this variant? We do not know yet. Scientists will have to guide us which vaccine if not all of them will work against this variant.”
Last week health experts encouraged South Africans to embrace the COVID-19 vaccine expected to be rolled out in the country in the second quarter of next year, as a new variant of the coronavirus has been detected in the country.
Speaking during a panel hosted by Health Minister Zweli Mkhize addressing the media in an online session, Ministerial Advisory Committee’s, Professor Salim Abdool Karim, added that it’s not yet clear if the already developed vaccines for the coronavirus will be effective on the new variant of COVID-19.
Karim says the second wave in the Western Cape is much more than the first wave.
Notes from briefing:
Meanwhile, the Department of Health says healthcare workers will be the first to receive the coronavirus vaccine once it becomes available in South Africa.
Yesterday, the department confirmed that a deposit of R283 million was made for the vaccine by South Africa, which is 15% of the total cost. Only 10% of the country’s population will be able to receive the first batch of the vaccine.
The Department of Health Director-General, Sandile Buthelezi explains:
“The prioritisation is based on the fact that the first batch of the vaccines that we’ll receive will not be enough to cover all the South Africans. So we will start with those who are at risk in terms of contracting the virus hence our healthcare workers will be first in line, those who are elderly with co-morbidities. Down the line we will look at the other frontline workers and then going down as the vaccine gets available until we are able to vaccinate all the South Africans.”
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