WATCH | SA cannot be complacent, expert warns as Covid-19 vaccine trial begins

25 June 2020 - 15:31 By Zama Luthuli

Prof Shabir Madhi, director of the SA Medical Research Council's vaccine and infectious diseases analytics research unit, has warned South Africans against being complacent as the historic Covid-19 vaccination trial kicks off.

Madhi stressed the importance of maintaining non-pharmaceutical interventions to help curb the rapid spread of the deadly virus. “Unfortunately we haven’t had adequate buy-in to those non-pharmaceutical interventions,” he said.

He expressed concern over young South Africans not taking the virus seriously. “They can't comprehend why they should bother with these sort of non-pharmaceutical interventions,” he added.

SA became the first African country to take part in a global Covid-19 vaccine trial on Wednesday. The launch of the trial has given South Africans some hope amid dire circumstances. The virus had infected 111,796 in SA by Wednesday, killing 2,205.

Madhi said the goal is to get at least 60% of the population to develop immunity in order for the effective reproductive rate to drop to under one. This requires a communal response, he said.

“It's not about your individual protection — it's about the protection of other members in society.”


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