COVID-19 WRAP | Over-18s drive up SA's vaccination numbers, as 14,300 new cases are recorded on Friday

20 August 2021 - 06:10 By TimesLIVE
An empty street is seen as a lockdown to curb the spread of cases of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) remains in place in Wellington, New Zealand, August 20, 2021.
An empty street is seen as a lockdown to curb the spread of cases of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) remains in place in Wellington, New Zealand, August 20, 2021.
Image: REUTERS/Praveen Menon

August 20 2021 - 20:05

Over-18s drive up SA's vaccination numbers, as 14,300 new cases are recorded on Friday

On the first day that over-18s were allowed to register and receive their Covid-19 vaccines, nearly 250,000 shots were administered across SA.

This is significantly higher than in recent weeks, when government officials expressed concern at the apparent slowing demand for the vaccines.

According to figures released on Friday, there were 248,873 jabs administered by 5pm on Friday — over 57,000 more than administered the day before. Of the jabs on Friday, the most were in Gauteng (71,462), followed by the Western Cape (53,290) and KwaZulu-Natal (40,198).

August 20 2021 - 13:59

Excited over-18s join vaccine rollout, look forward to a 'normal life'

There was much excitement on day one of the national rollout of vaccines for the 18-to-34 age group on Friday.

“I’m definitely getting it as soon as I can,” said first-year accounting student Nika Fourie, 18. “There is a huge level of excitement about it because we’re all tired of the sacrifices and challenges, and now it looks like there is an end to the nightmare. We can all start working towards the goal of getting things back to normal — or rather the new normal.

August 20 2021 - 13:06

Covid-19 hangover: as more around the world are vaccinated, fewer give blood

From Seoul to Paris and Moscow to Bangkok, concerned citizens are lining up for shots as Covid-19 case numbers swell. That may ease pressure on stretched hospitals around the world, but with it comes a hangover: a severe shortage of blood donors.

A number of countries don’t allow people who have just been vaccinated to give blood, and ban those recovering from Covid-19.

With many people staying home as new infections rise, doctors said donor pools have shrunk to alarmingly low levels and put urgent operations at risk

August 20 2021 - 12:48

'ICU is a cold and lonely place, get vaccinated' - Covid-19 survivor

While lying in a cold and lonely ICU ward, Khanya Ndaka received a WhatsApp message from her 10 year-old daughter saying: “I think you are going to die.”

Before getting Covid-19, Ndaka did not see the value in getting vaccinated. However, after a near-death experience she went from being a vaccine-hesitant citizen to sharing her story and encouraging fellow South Africans to follow suit.

“I am not an expert. I am not a scientist. I am not a doctor. I am just me. I just want to share my story because I do not want anyone to go through what I went through,” she said during a health media briefing on Friday.

August 20 2021 - 12:30

POLL | Should those who don't get the Covid-19 vaccine be banned from attending events?

With the extension of the Covid-19 vaccine rollout to those who are 18 and older in motion, it seems rules for entry at some events might change during the festive season.

This week, South Africans over the age of 18 were given the green light to receive their Covid-19 vaccinations from Friday.

Cabinet approved vaccinations for the 18-to-34 age group as part of the country’s measures to increase the vaccine rollout and curb Covid-19 infections. Vaccinations for this group were originally set to kick off in September.

August 20 2021 - 12:00

Getting vaccinated? Great, but here’s why you should hold out on booze and grooves

There are renewed concerns and questions around the safety of alcohol consumption before and after getting the Covid-19 vaccine.

Questions are making the rounds about attending so-called “vaccination parties”.

This as the cabinet announced on Thursday that South Africans aged 18 and older could get the jab from Friday. Initially the age group was scheduled to register for vaccination on September 1, but the rollout for other age groups has been met with hesitancy by some eligible individuals.

August 20 2021 - 10:30

Israeli doctors find severe Covid-19 breakthrough cases mostly in older, sicker patients

In Israel's Covid-19 wards, doctors are learning which vaccinated patients are most vulnerable to severe illness, amid growing concerns about instances in which the shots provide less protection against the worst forms of the disease.

Around half of the country's 600 patients presently hospitalised with severe illness have received two doses of the Pfizer Inc shot, a rare occurrence out of 5.4 million fully vaccinated people.

The majority of these patients received two vaccine doses at least five months ago, are over the age of 60 and also have chronic illnesses known to worsen a coronavirus infection. They range from diabetes to heart disease and lung ailments, as well as cancers and inflammatory diseases that are treated with immune-system suppressing drugs, according to Reuters interviews with 11 doctors, health specialists and officials.

August 20 2021 - 09:30

Aged 18 to 34? Here’s how and where you can get vaccinated

From Friday, South Africans over the age of 18 are eligible to receive their Covid-19 vaccinations.

Cabinet this week approved vaccinations for the 18 to 34 age group as part of the country’s measures to increase the vaccine rollout and curb Covid-19 infections. Vaccinations for this group were originally set to kick off in September.

“Cabinet welcomed the vaccination rollout plan to increase the uptake of vaccines, particularly in provinces that had shown a reduction in uptake,” said cabinet.

August 20 2021 - 07:56

Alert level 3 to continue as third wave refuses to decline, says Phaahla

Alert level 3 of the lockdown will continue, health minister Joe Phaahla said on Friday.

Briefing the media about the Covid-19 pandemic, Phaahla said the national coronavirus command council and cabinet had made the decision due to the third wave of the local outbreak remaining “stubbornly in our midst”.

The number of new infections has increased by 18.2% over the past seven days, Phaahla said, with the resurgence being driven by the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape and the Northern Cape.

August 20 2021 - 07:34

A look at some of the people we spoke to 100 days into lockdown: Where are they now?

To mark 100 days of the Covid-19 lockdown last year, TimesLIVE took you into the lives of families who were experiencing the Covid-19 pandemic in completely different ways. Now, more than 500 days since the lockdown started, we checked in to find out how some of those people are doing today, and their thoughts on the coronavirus.

In July 2020, Zanele Zama of Kempton Park was heavily pregnant and counting the days to meeting her daughter, her third child. Back then, she explained how the Covid-19 restrictions meant she couldn't have the support of her mother after her birth.

August 20 2021 - 07:00

What is a booster shot and when should you take it?

A booster shot, or a third dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, is a jab administered to maximise vaccine-induced protection and prolong its durability.

Boosters are not given in SA yet, and their efficacy is still being studied by local authorities.

This week, pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and BioNTech submitted data to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to support the evaluation for a third dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

August 20 2021 - 06:15

US probing Moderna vaccine for higher heart inflammation risk

US health officials are investigating reports that Moderna Inc's Covid-19 vaccine may be linked to a higher risk of a rare heart condition in younger adults than previously thought, the Washington Post reported late on Thursday, citing people familiar with the review.

The report quoted a source saying it was too early for the regulators to reach a conclusion, and that additional work was needed before any recommendation was made.

Health regulators in June had added a warning to the literature that accompanies the mRNA vaccines produced by Moderna and Pfizer to flag the rare risk of heart inflammation seen primarily in young males.

However, they said the benefit of the shots in preventing Covid-19 continued to outweigh the risks.

There might be a 2.5 times higher incidence of myocarditis in those who get the Moderna vaccine compared with Pfizer's vaccine, the Post quoted a source as saying.

The investigation that is focused on Canadian data suggests that risks of myocarditis might especially be higher for males below the age of 30 or so, according to the report.

Moderna and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) did not immediately respond to Reuters' requests for comment.


August 20 2021 - 06:05

Three US senators test positive for Covid-19

Three US senators - Republican Roger Wicker of Mississippi, Democrat John Hickenlooper of Colorado and independent Angus King of Maine - disclosed on Thursday they had tested positive for Covid-19.

August 20 2021 - 06:00

Covid-19 claims Joburg attorney couple, who leave behind weeks-old baby and beloved dogs

A mother is heartbroken after her daughter and son-in-law succumbed to Covid-19 just two weeks apart — leaving behind their seven-week-old baby and two dogs. 

Claudette Webb told TimesLIVE that Sheena Groenewald-Scott and Craig Scott had a beautiful relationship and a good life together, both working as attorneys in Johannesburg.

Their baby is being looked after by Craig's parents.

“I’m devastated. I feel like a zombie emotionally — when you watch those in movies, I’m one of them at the moment. I can’t even tell how I feel. I’m really not doing well,” said Webb.

August 20 2021 - 06:00

Sydney extends Covid-19 lockdown, imposes curfew on worst-hit areas

The Covid-19 lockdown of Sydney was extended on Friday and a nightly curfew imposed on the city's worst-affected suburbs in a last-ditch attempt to slow the spread of the highly infectious Delta variant that is spreading across New South Wales state.

Australia's third wave of Covid-19 infections centred on Sydney has forced more than half the country's near 26 million people into lockdown and pushed the world's 13th-largest economy to the brink of its second recession in as many years.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said new restrictions, including a requirement to wear a mask when outside and limits on exercise, were needed as the state reported its third consecutive day of more than 600 new Covid-19 cases.

"I asked health and police to work together, to give me a final list of what we can throw at this, to leave no shadow of a doubt as to how serious we are about getting the rate of growth down, the case numbers down," Berejiklian told a media conference.

In the 12 council areas at the epicentre of Sydney's outbreak, a curfew would be in place from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. from Monday, she said.

Anyone caught entering those areas would be fined and required to self-isolate for 14 days, New South Wales state Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said.