South Africa

WESTERN CAPE COVID UPDATE

Residents between 50 and 59 urged to get vaccinated urgently

People queue at the Cape Town International Conference Centre for the Covid-19 vaccine on 19 July 2021. (Photo: Gallo Images/Die Burger/Jaco Marais)

There are signs the province is in its peak of third-wave infections as hospital admissions and cases are starting to stabilise, but health authorities are urging those who are eligible to get vaccinated urgently.

Those aged 50 to 59 need to get the Covid-19 vaccine “urgently” since this group has the most hospital admissions and deaths, Western Cape health department head Dr Keith Cloete declared during a virtual media briefing on Thursday.

According to provincial data, 68% of hospital admissions and 87% of deaths recorded in the third wave are among the over-50s. Cloete referred to those between 50 and 59 as “the big group”. According his presentation there are 682,516 people in this group in the province, but: 

  • 310,476 (45,5%) have registered on the Electronic Vaccination Data System;
  • 216,412 (31,7%) are partially vaccinated; and 
  • 53,057 (7,8%) are fully vaccinated.

Cloete said there were signs that the province was in the peak of its third wave of infections and potentially coming off its peak. However, there was a possibility of case backlogs due to taxi violence, which meant people were unable to get to testing centres.

The rural districts, such as the Overberg and the Garden Route, were plateauing, as were areas in the Cape metro. 

But Cloete urged residents to stick to mask wearing and physical distancing because “risks of being exposed at gatherings is very high”. 

Currently, the Western Cape has the most active Covid-19 cases in the country – 40,295. According to Cloete’s presentation, the province is recording 3,100 new cases daily, along with 355 hospital admissions and 108 deaths. These figures are similar to those reported last week

So far the province has administered 1,360,523 doses to healthcare workers, teachers and those in eligible age groups across 82 sites in the Cape metro and 42 rural sites. 

Cloete urged those who have been vaccinated to become “vaccine ambassadors” to encourage others to get vaccinated and curb vaccine hesitancy. The Western Cape is ramping up vaccination efforts in rural areas and low vaccine uptake areas. Last week, Daily Maverick reported that the province was targeting supermarkets and social grant pay points in an effort to reach eligible people in low uptake areas. 

The province would make vaccine information freely available and nuanced, and use local community leaders on all media platforms to relay vaccine information to the public. DM

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