South Africa

COVID-19 UPDATE

Roll-out fast-tracked: Over-18s in South Africa can get the jab from Friday

Covid-19 vaccinations will be rolled out to South Africans over the age of 18 years from 20 August 2021. (Photo: wexnermedical.osu.edu/Wikipedia)

In a move to bolster the rollout of vaccinations in the country, Cabinet has approved the vaccination of persons over the age of 18, from Friday. This comes as the uptake of Covid-19 vaccines has waned in recent weeks. 

 From Friday, 20 August, South Africans over the age of 18 are eligible to receive their Covid-19 vaccinations. Cabinet announced it had approved the vaccinations of persons aged 18 to 34 on Thursday, as part of increasing the vaccine roll-out in the country.  

This comes after a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, in which the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) recommended the move. 

“Cabinet welcomed the vaccination roll-out plan to increase the uptake of vaccines, particularly in provinces that had shown a reduction in the uptake of vaccines,” it said in a statement on Thursday.

Cabinet also approved keeping the country under the adjusted Level 3 lockdown, as advised by the Ministerial Advisory Committee.

Vaccinations for this age group were scheduled to begin on 1 September. 

However, government officials had been considering allowing over 18-year-olds to get vaccinated ahead of the scheduled September start date, over concerns of a decline in daily vaccinations. 

Read in the Daily Maverick: South Africa is ‘losing momentum’ in its vaccination drive

On Monday, Minister of Health, Joe Phaahla, in an interview with 702’s Bongani Bingwa, said the department was considering opening vaccination access to those over the age of 18 before the end of the week, and was currently in consultation with Cabinet leadership. 

As of Wednesday evening, the total number of Covid-19 vaccines administered across South Africa was 9,962,111. 

On Thursday, Western Cape Premier, Alan Winde expressed his “excitement” with regards to Cabinet’s decision to open vaccinations to those aged 18 to 34. 

“We’ve seen major interest and excitement from this age group, and we look forward to them making use of our vaccination sites. We have the capacity, infrastructure and supplies to manage this increased demand,” he said in a statement

On Wednesday, 18 August, South Africa had reported 14,728 new Covid-19 cases. KwaZulu-Natal had the most active Covid-19 infections in the country, with 50,042 active cases, followed by the Western Cape with 35,483. As of Wednesday evening, the total number of Covid-19 vaccines administered was 9,962,111. The government’s Covid-19 vaccination dashboard indicated that only 194,882 vaccines were administered in the last 24 hours, which is under the government’s target of 300,000 per day.

Those aged 18 and over can visit their nearest vaccination site from Friday, with their identity document to be registered and vaccinated. 

From midnight on Thursday, those aged 18 to 34 will also be able to register online on the Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS) in order to receive the vaccine.

You can find your closest site from the more than 3,000 vaccination sites across the country at: http://sacoronavirus.co.za/active-vaccination-sites/. DM

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