CORONAVIRUS WEEKLY DIGEST #32

Phase 2 vaccines kick off in SA, service delivery protest stalls rollout in Free State and behind the scenes of the Phase 1 J&J vaccine 

By Zukiswa Pikoli 21 May 2021

This week the Pfizer vaccine was rolled out to over 60s citizens with some vaccine centres reporting being overwhelmed by numbers, the Western Cape announced it is to launch a TB dashboard, details were revealed how the first 500,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine were administered and service delivery protests delayed vaccinations in the Free State.

Zukiswa Pikoli

“The elderly have demonstrated much enthusiasm and came for vaccination in numbers.” — Department Health spokesperson, Sizwe Kupelo.

By Thursday 20 May, some provincial vaccine centres reported being overwhelmed by people’s demand for the vaccine with the Eastern Cape having had to receive an additional 9,000 doses to meet demand. Estelle Ellis explains.

Elderly residents of Gqeberha waiting for their vaccination at the Port Elizabeth Provincial Hospital. (Photo: Deon Ferreira)

RFG Holdings’ pies and fruit juice sales show stunted growth as a result of Covid-19 restrictions

RFG Holdings’ sales took a knock as a result of the government’s initial Covid-19 ban on selling hot foods in supermarkets as well as the travel ban affecting pie sales. Juice sales were curtailed by the restrictions on entertainment activities and the slow start to the school year, resulting in a 3.4% decline in turnover. Read more here  

Western Cape health department to have Covid-19 style dashboard for TB

The Western Cape health department says that the Covid-19 response has forced it to put the fight against TB on the backburner and will now be launching a Covid-style tuberculosis dashboard in an effort to catch up as part of its ‘multi-sectoral TB emergency response plan’. Find out more here

TAC members and members of partner organisations march to Parliament on March 24, 2015 in Cape Town, South Africa (Photo by Gallo Images / The Times / Esa Alexander)

Western Cape urges residents to help others register

Sune Payne reports that the Western Cape Government says that they have noted a resurgence of Covid-19 cases, prompting them to urge all residents to encourage their families and neighbours to register for vaccination.

Western Cape Health Departmental head, Dr Keith Cloete (not pictured) said the province was anticipating its third wave to be smaller than the second, which was experienced towards the end of 2020. (Photo by Gallo Images/Sharon Seretlo)

Mangaung service delivery protests stall Free State rollout

On Monday, 11 May, service delivery protests erupted in the Free State which in turn stalled the administering of vaccinations in the province. “We tried to get a police escort for the vaccine to arrive at Boikhucho old age home in Mangaung, but because of the scarcity of the vaccine and the cost implications we decided not to take that risk,” said provincial Department of Health spokesperson Mondli Mvambi. Read more here.

Service delivery protests prevented the launch of the Phase 2 Covid-19 vaccination programme in Mangaung, Free State. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla)

How to book your vaccination appointment on the Electronic Vaccination Data System

The Bhekisisa Centre for Health Journalism explains how to go about securing a Covid-19 vaccination appointment, how the system decides who gets the jab first and what to do if you miss your appointment.

An elderly woman receives a Covid-19 vaccination in Gauteng on 17 May 2021. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla)

Day 3 of phase 2 vaccination sees long queues and scheduling delays

On 18 May, 39,371 people had been vaccinated as part of the phase 2 rollout. Government had allocated 100 inoculation sites with a promise of more sites to follow in the week from department of health DG, Dr Anban Pillay. Day 3 also saw a host of political, entertainment and legal public figures getting the vaccine and encouraging others to follow suit, wrote Christi Nortier

Anti-apartheid activist and last surviving organiser of the 1956 Women’s March, Sophia Williams-De Bruyn, is administered her first dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine on 19 May at the Alexandra Health Centre in Johannesburg. (Photo: GCIS)

What is a post-pandemic global economy likely to look like?

With China’s retail sales coming in almost 8% lower than anticipated and the US’s employment statistics looking disappointing, economists attempt to chart what a post-pandemic world will look like, holding out little hope for meaningful recovery in the short term and warn of the possibility of higher inflation, read more about it here.

(Image: Adobe Stock)

A breakdown of provincial plans to vaccinate the elderly

With people over 60 now being vaccinated Spotlight looks at how the process will be carried out across South Africa’s nine provinces and 87 vaccination sites with more to be added. There are several ways to register including through the EVDS website, by SMS or WhatsApp and minister of health Zweli Mkhize has said that a walk-in option will soon be made available.  

Preler Thomas prepares to receive his Covid-19 vaccine in Munsieville, Krugersdorp. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla)

Behind the scenes of how South Africa secured 500,000 J&J doses
Professor Glenda Gray discusses how the first 500,000 J&J vaccine doses, which were part of the Sisonke study, were administered in South Africa and were secured after the Astrazeneca vaccine had to be pulled. Gray says that what the Sisonke study taught her was that South African clinicians and scientists were passionate about their work. DM

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