The Department of Health has approved a second dose of the Pfizer vaccine for the 12-17 age group.

Registration on the Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS) is now open for this age group to receive their second jab.

The SA Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) had already approved a third dose of Pfizer for those 12 years of age and older who are severely immunosuppressed.

Now, a third booster dose for everyone 18 years and older has also been approved, and it is expected to be offered to people from January …

At the same time, the  Western Cape Health Department said it’s ready to roll out the booster programme as soon as EVDS enables it.

The Western Cape Health platform data indicates:

• There are steep increases in the number of daily new cases with on average 665 new diagnoses per day. The Western Cape will reach the fourth wave when this hits around 1100 cases per day, on a 7-day rolling average.
• The proportion of tests coming back positive has increased to an average of 20%.
• Admissions are showing signs of an early increase with 19 admissions per day. Deaths remain low with <2 deaths per day.
• Overall, there is a 587% week on week increase in cases in the Metro, and 326% week on week increase in Rural, albeit off lower bases.
• All sub-districts in the Cape Metro are seeing increases in cases.
• All rural districts are also seeing increases in cases except in Central Karoo.
• There is a clear private sector predominance of those being infected.
• The reproduction number reached a high of 2.5. It is higher than what was experienced early on in the second and third waves.

Over 80% of PCR specimens in the last week in the Western Cape have the proxy marker of the Omicron COVID-19 variant. This indicates that the rapid increase in cases being experienced is linked to this new variant, as is the case in other provinces in South Africa.

Premier Alan Winde says that slightly more than 30% of Western Cape pensioners still need to get vaccinated.

During his weekly digicon, Winde again urged residents older than 60 to register and report for their Covid-19 vaccination as soon as possible.

To date, more than 60% of Western Cape residents, older than 60, had been fully vaccinated.

Access the latest Western Cape Covid-19 digital conference here.

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Health Minister Joe Phaahla says there is light at the end of the tunnel, for South Africa, in its fight against the covid-19 pandemic.

Phaahla says even though the third wave of the pandemic – now at close to 120 days – has been the longest wave thus far, it is starting to show a decline.

The Minster says the first wave lasted for an estimated 80 days, while the second wave lasted for around 90 days.

Read the minister’s full statement here.

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The Western Cape Health Department says it has, to date, managed to vaccinate more than 66% of the province’s pensioners.

The Department’s Chief of Operations, Dr Saadiq Kariem said around 51% of residents, between the ages of 50 and 59, have been vaccinated.

Kariem says only around 40% of 35 to 49-year olds had been vacinnated, while in the 18 to 34-year old age group, only 20% have been vaccinated.

Access the latest Western Cape Covid-19 digital conference here.

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The Department of Health says the majority of South Africans have been inoculated with Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine.

Even though Government was planning to vaccinate people in rural areas with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the majority of residents in far-lying areas have been inoculated with the Pfizer vaccine.

According to the Minister of Health, Joe Phaahla initial plans were to jab South Africans with the J&J vaccine as it only requires one jab which would have ensured that more people get vaccinated over a shorter period of time.

Phaahla says South Africa now has a huge stock-pile of Pfizer doses.

Follow the Department of Health’s latest Covid-19 briefing here.

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