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'If we get 90% of over 50s vaccinated, we won't have a fourth wave of deaths'

19 October 2021 8:40 AM
Tags:
Vaccinations
COVID-19
Covid-19 vaccines
Jonny Myer

John Maytham speaks to Jonny Myers, Emeritus Professor in Public Health Medicine, at the University of Cape Town.
  • Emeritus professor Jonny Myers says access to vaccines is far more of an obstacle than vaccine hesitancy
  • Myers believes that getting over 90% of over 50s vaccinated will stave off the fourth wave of Covid-19 deaths in South Africa

Image: © Iurii Golub / 123rf.com

Bhekisisa Health reports that to date, over 20 million vaccines have been administered with 181 031 new vaccinations reported.

Of these, 10 891 296 people were completely vaccinated with 4 707 654 people receiving the Johnson & Johnson jab and 6 183 642 receiving their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

John speaks to Jonny Myers, Emeritus Professor in Public Health Medicine, at the University of Cape Town, about his piece in the Daily Maverick on how Covid-19 vaccination can prevent South Africa’s fourth wave.

He says that data from the Western Cape show that 30% of the recorded Covid-19 cases were aged over 50 and these cases were responsible for 60% of hospitalisations.

Vaccine access versus vaccine hesitancy

But Myers believes lack of access to vaccines is a far bigger obstacle than vaccine hesitancy.

Right now people are putting together proposals at a national department of health level to try and get bit-time funding to provide people with vouchers.

Emeritus Professor Jonny Myers, Occupational Health and Public Health Medicine Specialist

The voucher would help reimburse people for transport costs and more.

The voucher would enable people to receive an amount of money after the vaccination to reimburse them for the real costs of travelling and their time and inconvenience - probably in the form of grocery vouchers.

Emeritus Professor Jonny Myers, Occupational Health and Public Health Medicine Specialist

There are many people who are really poor and it's hard for them to get to a vaccination centre.

Emeritus Professor Jonny Myers, Occupational Health and Public Health Medicine Specialist

We have to work on pumping up demands and that is a much bigger issue than hesitancy or anti-vaxxers.

Emeritus Professor Jonny Myers, Occupational Health and Public Health Medicine Specialist

How can we prevent the fourth wave of Covid deaths in South Africa?

If we can get 90% plus of the over 50s vaccinated, we won't have a fourth wave of deaths.

Emeritus Professor Jonny Myers, Occupational Health and Public Health Medicine Specialist

Age has been established as a key factor in Covid deaths.

It's not so important to chase the young.

Emeritus Professor Jonny Myers, Occupational Health and Public Health Medicine Specialist

He says this is the message that needs to get out there,

When you do the sums, you see the number of people we have to vaccinate drops from 39 million to 3.6 million. if we can get that done, and done quickly -we could do that for the over 50s in 20 to 30 days - that should be feasible.

Emeritus Professor Jonny Myers, Occupational Health and Public Health Medicine Specialist

Myers argues that doing this will not result in younger people filling up hospitals in a fourth wave. European countries have had massive fourth waves of cases because vaccination does not stop one from contracting the virus, but there are few deaths, and hospitals and ICUs are not full of Covid cases.

Young people are generally not as adversely affected by Covid and come out of it with strong immunity.

Emeritus Professor Jonny Myers, Occupational Health and Public Health Medicine Specialist

In the fourth wave cases will go up but not deaths, severe illness, and hospitalisations, he notes.

However, young people should get vaccinated if they want to. There must be no barriers put in front of them for that.

Emeritus Professor Jonny Myers, Occupational Health and Public Health Medicine Specialist



19 October 2021 8:40 AM
Tags:
Vaccinations
COVID-19
Covid-19 vaccines
Jonny Myer

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