South Africa’s COVID-19 vaccinations increases, cases drop by 20 percent

Health department considering revising recommendations to the National Coronavirus Command Council as new cases drop.

According to the Department of Health, following the decrease in immunizations during the festive holidays, the rate of vaccinations has since increased notably over the past few weeks across all of the country’s provinces. However, according to officials from the department, the number of people receiving their first inoculations has been low of recent. "Although we are getting a high number of people vaccinated, the trend is telling us that it's people returning who are vaccinated. And the total number of new people who are vaccinating is relatively small," said Dr Nicholas Crisp, the acting Director General at the health department. Since the immunization programme commenced last February, almost 32 million COVID-19 shots have been administered as the country ramped up efforts to combat the worst effects of the virus.

So far, about 19 million adults have received at least a single dose of the J&J vaccine or two doses of the Pfizer jab. During its briefing on Friday, the health department also announced that the number of new cases had dropped by 20 percent over the past week. However, according to the health minister, Joe Phaahla, most of the infections reported during the past week had been in children aged between 10 and 14 years. And while hospital admissions had also declined, it was still the unvaccinated that were being mostly admitted, accounting for 72 percent of admissions over the past week alone. Given the drop in new cases, the health department also announced that it would likely make new recommendations to the National Coronavirus Command Council during the coming week.