South African vaccination expert, Professor Shabir Madhi has again reiterated calls that residents, older than 50, get their Covid-19 vaccine as soon as possible.

Madhi says older residents, with underlying health conditions, have a higher chance of ending up in hospital, when contracting the virus.

Madhi says the vaccination rate of older residents should be increased as soon as possible, before the resurgence in infections, which is expected by December.

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Leading South African vaccination expert, professor Shabir Madhi says vaccinating the country’s children, at this point in time, seems to be a waste of valuable doses of Covid-19 vaccine.

Madhi, dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of WITS, says children are at a much lower risk of developing severe forms of Covid-19, and getting hospitalized, should they contract the viral-disease.

He says the vaccines, currently being given to 12 to 17-year old children, should rather be administered to older, high-risk patients.

He says healthcare workers should also be prioritized.

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Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, at the University of the Witwatersrand, Professor Shabir Madhi says the only way to “defeat” Covid-19 would be to ensure herd-immunity is reached in the country as soon as possible.

Madhi says the virus will continue to evolve or mutate in a largely non-vaccinated population which would see more transmissible and virulent variants of Covid-19 rise to dominance.

He says vaccination helps the body’s immune-system easier recognize and neutralize the virus, after infection.

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Herd immunity does not mean that people would not get infected with the virus but rather means that those who are vaccinated, would not get severely ill from Covid-19.

This, according to the Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, at the University of the Witwatersrand, Professor Shabir Madhi.

Madhi says Government should therefore instead change its messaging to focusing on informing residents that getting vaccinated would protect them, especially if they fall in vulnerable groups, from ending up in hospital.

Madhi says this may help in reducing vaccine-hesitancy among South Africans.

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