Your Covid-19 questions answered

If more people will be vaccinated by Christmas, does this mean it will be safer to hold gatherings?

02 August 2021 - 07:00 By cebelihle bhengu
The country has issued more than 6.3 million vaccines so far, and will have enough shots to last until the end of the year, with 31 million doses from Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer Inc. expected to arrive within in the next three months.
The country has issued more than 6.3 million vaccines so far, and will have enough shots to last until the end of the year, with 31 million doses from Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer Inc. expected to arrive within in the next three months.
Image: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg

General practitioners Dr Marlin McKay and Dr Hillary Mukudu say it will still be unsafe for South Africans to hold mass gatherings during the festive season even though more people are expected to have received their Covid-19 jabs.

People aged 18 and older will be eligible to receive their Covid-19 vaccines from September 1, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced during a national briefing last week.

However, Mukudu said it is too early to tell if SA can return to some kind of normality even with high vaccine coverage. 

“The science of the disease is rapidly evolving and in an ideal setting that is what we would be hoping for. It may be too early to know in our setting, but the predicted fourth wave of infections before the end of the year will shed more light,” Mukudu told TimesLIVE.

McKay said the “new normal” brought by the pandemic will be with us for a few more years.

He said social distancing, hand sanitising and wearing masks should be adhered to at all times.

“We’re assuming most youth will be vaccinated. If in that gathering you have what we call relative herd immunity, where between 60% and 70% of the youth in that gathering have been vaccinated, then it is safer than what it is now.

“However, because we don’t know, I would encourage young people to always wear a mask when going out.

“While we’re assuming many young people will be vaccinated, it doesn’t mean lowering our guard and leaving masks at home for at least a few years. The argument is that if it is less risky, that does not mean we can take chances and lower our guard.”

TimesLIVE


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