Weeks after the government lifted all Covid-19 regulations, Caprisa director and epidemiologist Prof. Salim Abdool has urged Karim to introduce an important public health measure – compulsory vaccination for public transport.
Last month, Health Secretary Joe Phaahla lifted Covid-19 regulations that removed the use of face masks, restrictions on gatherings and the requirement that people leaving SA and coming to South Africa have full vaccination certificates.
In a government gazette, Phaahla completely lifted regulations on surveillance and control of reportable diseases.
Abdool Karim said although the country is recording a low number of Covid-19 cases, at least one measure should have been retained .
“I remain concerned and strongly believe that vaccination coverage in SA is still too low that our country should still have one important public health measure at this point – mandatory vaccination for entering public transport,” he said.
According to Abdool Karim, SA must, in the absence of a mask requirement indoors Use vaccinations to reduce risk indoors.
“To do this, anyone over the age of 12 wishing to board public transport must provide proof of vaccination or a negative test result that is not older than 72 hours. The verification could be done at the entrance, just as the disinfection was verified at the entrance. Instead of checking disinfection, checking should now be for vaccination/test results.”
He suggested that the vaccination record should be digital or a driver’s license-like card.
“A negative one Test result can be either a PCR test or an antigen test.”
“I fear that vaccine uptake will drop to a trickle once the mood in the country changes to ‘Covid-19 is no longer in SA “ turns over. Many will interpret the lifting of all restrictions as the end of the pandemic.
“Vaccination requirements will help increase immunization coverage and may be dropped once SA reaches 70% immunization coverage.”
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