The use of Pfizer’s Comirnaty COVID-19 vaccine after BioNTech has been approved by the South African Health Products Authority (SAHPRA) on Wednesday. Pfizer said that two doses of their vaccine won’t be enough to be protected against the new omicron variant.
South Africa has approved the use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 booster dose for people aged over 18 years, amid rising concerns following a record of almost 20,000 infections overnight, largely credited to the new and highly-mutating Omicron variant.
It said a third dose of the vaccine could be given to those over 18 years at least six months after their second jab, or 28 days after the second shot for those over 12 years who are seriously immune-compromised.
After South Africa reported a new high of 19,842 infections overnight, the decision came by SAHPRA. The death toll has now also exceeded the 90,000-mark with 36 new deaths.
More than 60 per cent of these infections were in Gauteng province, the economic center of the country, as assumption grew over a more severe lockdown being imminent. South Africa is currently at the lowest Level One of its five-level lockdown strategy.
President Cyril Ramaphosa was anticipated to hold critical meetings with the Corona Command Council and his Cabinet incontinently upon his return from a week-long visit to four West African nations Thursday.
There’s a growing fear that the infection numbers will continue to rise exponentially in other businesses also as vacation-makers head to the littoral businesses and workers from Gauteng visit their traditional family homes for gatherings over the gleeful season.
Despite repeated calls by the government, unions and business leaders, vaccine hesitancy continued unabated over the once week as infections reached stunning figures.
On Monday, Health Minister Joe Phaahla expressed concern over hospitals beginning to fill up with COVID-19 cases, although the maturity of cases weren’t severe.
Phaahla also participated concern over children and expectant maters when he spoke at the opening form of the International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa in Durban. “ We’re seeing babies, toddlers and pregnant women in sanitarium on oxygen. The communication is clear, we need to be more watchful than ever,” the minister advised.
On Tuesday, Jacques van Zuydam, the Department of Social Development’s principal director for population and development, bared that South Africa’s life expectation had gone down by three-and-a-half times because of the epidemic. He was speaking at a BRICS webinar on the demographic impact of the epidemic.
“There was a significant rise in deaths in 2021, approximately by 34 per cent from the previous years,” he said, adding that what had not been expected was the impact that the pandemic had on mental health.
“There has been a reported rise in mental illness associated with increased social isolation, disruptions in daily life routines and pressures associated with the loss of livelihoods,? he added.