The Government’s immunization program suffered during the Christmas period as many focused on spending time with loved ones rather than getting the Covid-19 shot.
This is according to Health Secretary Joe Phaahla, who, along with A panel of health experts, gave an update on Friday on the vaccination roll-out program and the government’s fight against the pandemic.
“Our vaccination program has been struggling over the Christmas period. As we reported on December 17th, all provinces have taken steps to improve access with mobile and pop-up sites in locations such as tollbooths, roadblocks and shopping malls and even Durban’s beachfront.
” The acceptance of these occasions was not very great as people focused on their celebrations and their free time,” said Phaahla.
He said after an almost complete break between Christmas and New Year, the vaccination rate increased slightly, but it was less than 100,000 doses per day.
Phaahla said by the close of business on Friday, 28.7 million doses had been administered to 18.4 million adults, accounting for 45.5% of all adults over the age of 18 at least one shot.
“The number of fully vaccinated people is 15.9 million, which is 40% of our adult population.”
The leading province in immunization coverage was the Free State with 54.1%, followed by the Western Cape with 53.6%, Limpopo at 52.2% and the Eastern Cape at 50%, said Phaahla.
“North Cape is 47%, North West is 44.6% and Gauteng is 42.7%. It ended up with Mpumalanga at 39.5% and KwaZulu-Natal at 39%.
“Last night Gauteng surpassed 8 million doses administered, which is a significant milestone. The challenge is the huge population that needs to be served.”
Phaahla said the government’s main priority is full vaccination of at least 70% of the adult population.
“I want it reiterate that the protection of vaccines against serious diseases is unchallenged, as we can see with the fourth wave of infections, and as we have seen with the protection of health workers and teachers in the third wave.”