The Minister of Health Dr. Joe Phaahla says the country has, to date, administered more than 30.3-million doses of Covid-19 vaccines to residents.

Phaahla met with the head of the WHO, dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus.

Ghebreyesus was here in the Mother City and visited the Afrigen Biologics & Vaccines facility in Montague Gardens.

Phaahla says the country has made a lot of progress over the last few months to deliver Covid-19 vaccines to residents.

The minister says one of the biggest challenges now is to get young people vaccinated.

Access the full briefing here.

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President Cyril Ramaphosa says the vaccine production facility, unveiled in Brackengate yesterday, will tremendously boost South Africa’s Covid-19 fighting capabilities.

The plant, established by the US biotech billionaire Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, is set to produce a billion Covid-19 vaccine doses by 2025.

Ramaphosa says the facility would help provide much needed doses of vaccines to other African countries.

He says the establishment of the facility is also a big investment in the country’s scientific and research skills.

Watch the full media-briefing here.

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South African health authorities have seen a marked decrease in the number of excess deaths reported during the fourth wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to Public Health Specialist at the National Institute of Communicable Diseases, Dr. Waasila Jassat this decrease in excess mortalities has become more apparent over the past 2 to 3 weeks.

Jassat says all other indicators, such as hospitalizations, severe disease and ICU treatment, have also, in this current wave, seen a drastic decline.

Access the Health Department’s latest Covid-19 update here.

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The decision to not abolish contract tracing and quarantine should be reconsidered.

This, according to Vaccinology expert, professor Shabir Madhi.

Government, late in December also decided to scrap the curfew, just in time for New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Madhi, the Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at the WITS University, says the decision to not migrate the country to a higher level of lockdown, during the festive season, was the right call.

Madhi also urged schools to ensure sufficient ventilation in classrooms, to avoid the spread of Covid-19 among learners.

He reiterates that Covid-19 is an airborne virus which could very easily spread in poorly ventilated classrooms.

Madhi says maintaining a “safe” social distance from other is not enough to avoid transmission.

Get more information on the Department of Health website.

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South African health authorities will soon know the effectiveness of a second dose of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine against the Omicron variant.

This, according to professor Glenda Gray, from the South African Medical Research Council.

Gray says healthcare workers who received one dose of the J&J injection, and who picked up breakthrough infections, developed only mild forms of the disease.

Gray says about 218,000 healthcare workers have already gotten a second dose of the J&J injection.

Read the full report here.

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