South Africa has passed the milestone of administering seven million Covid-19 vaccinations despite the drug supply limiting efforts to reach higher daily targets.
As of Friday, should the daily average of 250 000 inoculations be maintained, the country has six days of vaccine doses left.
It was “not a good week in terms of vaccines”, said acting Health Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane during a weekly Covid-19 update, but she added that these constraints would be straightened out in the week ahead.
South Africa has secured enough vaccines to last until the end of the year, said the national vaccination roll-out coordinator, Nicholas Crisp.
“Fortunately now with the Pfizer doses arriving, the donation doses arriving and Johnson & Johnson [J&J] arriving, all within a space of five or six days, we are finally out of this vaccine dearth,” said Crisp.
“From the latter half of next week and into the week after, we expect to see massive increases in our capabilities.”
The vaccine expectation for the following week includes the arrival of more than 1.5-million Pfizer doses on Sunday, a further 5.6-million by Wednesday and 1.4-million J&J vaccines by Monday.
“There are enough doses for us to complete the year, and we don’t need any further procurement, based on the rates and our expectations for the remainder of this year,” said Crisp.
He added that there would be a greater effort to reach the most vulnerable people in the weeks ahead while also working to reach the target to vaccinate seven million people over the age of 35.
“But we must ensure that at least a million of those people are people over the age of 60. We cannot leave that population behind, otherwise we are not going to be able to keep the very ill people out of the hospital,” said Crisp.
New daily Covid-19 infections are still on the rise, with an upward swing in the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.
“We are concerned about the rise of numbers in the Western Cape, which have now surpassed Gauteng in the number of new cases in the last 24 hours. Gauteng has been the epicentre of the third wave,” said Kubayi-Ngubane.
The Western Cape accounted for 29% of the new cases recorded in the past day, resulting in a nationwide total of 13 751 new infections.
A total of 3 344 Covid-19 patients are being treated in private, public and field hospitals. Admissions are increasing, with an average of 307 each day.
Covid-19 related deaths have increased to about 90 daily, the head of health in the Western Cape, Keith Cloete, said on Thursday.
The Western Cape saw a 42% increase in cases, significantly higher than the 3.2% rise recorded the previous week.
The deputy director general for the department of health, Anban Pillay, said there was a decline in new infections in Mpumalanga, Gauteng and North West, but the Northern Cape saw an increase in new infections.