COVID-19 LIVE UPDATES | Sahpra finds no link between reported deaths and the Covid-19 vaccine

14 September 2021 - 06:15 By TimesLIVE
Demonstrators hold signs during a protest against Covid-19 mandates in New York, US, on Monday, September 13, 2021.
Demonstrators hold signs during a protest against Covid-19 mandates in New York, US, on Monday, September 13, 2021.
Image: Stephanie Keith/Bloomberg

September 14 2021 - 16:55

Keeping tabs on jabs is everybody's business, say experts on monitoring

Those responsible for keeping a beady eye on vaccines have urged the public to stick to three basic rules: report any concerning effects, let the experts figure out if the vaccine caused them, and don't spread false information about the vaccines.

Mafora Matlala, manager of pharmacovigilance at the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra), told a webinar hosted by the organisation that it is important to understand the difference between “an adverse event” and “an adverse drug reaction”.

September 14 2021 - 16:44

Ballito Rage — no vax, no entry and mandatory rapid tests

Matriculants who want to attend this year’s Rage Festival must be vaccinated.

The organisers of Ballito Rage, G&G Productions, on Tuesday announced it would host the festival “safely and smartly” from November 30 to December 5 with a necessary condition — no vax, no entry.

The production company said all attendees will be required to show proof of their government-approved Covid-19 vaccination certificate, which the organisers will verify through the department of health’s EVDS health passport.

September 14 2021 - 15:18

Alcohol industry says scientists urged government to return to ‘normal’ sales for off-site consumption

The government’s decision to extend alcohol sales for off-site consumption by only one extra day a week under level 2 of the lockdown went against the advice of scientists who opted for a full return to trading.

The SA Liquor Brand owners Association (Salba) pointed this out on Tuesday, citing an advisory note from the ministerial advisory committee (MAC) on Covid-19 dated September 6.

Salba charged the single day extension “imposed unnecessary restrictions on the sale of alcohol for off-site consumption”.

September 14 2021 - 13:55

UK likely to require health workers to be vaccinated against Covid

Britain is highly likely to require front-line health and social care workers in England to be vaccinated against Covid, Health Secretary Sajid Javid said on Tuesday. 

“I believe that it is highly likely that front line NHS staff and those working in wider social care settings will also have to be vaccinated to protect those that are around them,” Javid told parliament.

Reuters

September 14 2021 - 13:35

Dutch expected to ease Covid-19 measures, introduce 'corona' pass

The Dutch government is expected to ease Covid-19 restrictions on Tuesday, mirroring other countries in Europe, and introduce a “corona” pass, showing proof of vaccinations, that will allow eating out and admission to cultural events.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte's cabinet is expected to lift social distancing requirements from September 25, Dutch broadcaster NOS reported, citing sources.

Likely remaining in place are a mask requirement for public transportation and schools, and a recommendation that people work from home when possible.

The corona pass will be required for people aged 13 and up to enter venues such as restaurants, bars, cinemas and museums, the broadcaster said.

More than 70% of the Dutch population, or 12.6 million people, have received at least one Covid-19 vaccination, while 65% is fully vaccinated, according to the official data.

The government's health advisory board on Tuesday said there was no need for a third shot known as a booster for the general population because vaccinations were still effective.

New infections have fallen to around 2,000 per day in the Netherlands, while roughly 450 Covid-19 patients are receiving treatment in hospital. 

Reuters

September 14 2021 - 12:28

Canada PM Trudeau vows to crack down on hospital protests, says rival backs extremists

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday said if re-elected he would ban people from protesting outside hospitals and accused his chief rival of supporting those who oppose Covid-19 vaccinations.

September 14 2021 - 11:30

Sahpra finds no link between reported deaths and the Covid-19 vaccine

The regulator and the National Immunisation Safety Expert Committee (Nisec) said on Monday 40 reports of deaths after receiving the vaccine have been investigated and 46 are still under investigation.

Prof Hannelie Meyer, chairperson of Nisec, said 13 of the deaths are related to Covid-19 with a single case of breakthrough infection.

“These people who died because of Covid-19, they had already incubated Covid-19 at the time of vaccination or they contracted Covid-19 shortly after being vaccinated before they could mount an adequate immune response,” she said.

September 14 2021 - 10:00

Alan Winde calls for an end to the state of disaster - here's what he's suggesting instead

Western Cape premier Alan Winde has joined calls for an end of to the national state of disaster, saying a new and different management system is needed for each province.  

The government declared the national state of disaster under the Disaster Management Act on March 15, 2020 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

On Sunday, it was once again extended by a month in the government gazette and is set to continue until October 15. 

Winde said an extension of the national state of disaster, instead of an end, was concerning. 

September 14 2021 - 08:03

Impact of Covid-19 on school pupils has been detrimental - experts

If you thought 2020 was difficult for pupils, 2021 has been even more complicated.

Not only have these young people had to deal with Covid-19 that has seen them forgoing face-to-face learning and quality time with their friends, some of their families have been robbed of their livelihoods due to job losses. This year pupils, particularly those in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, have found themselves in an even stickier situation as they witnessed the unrest and looting that left some schools in a state of disrepair.

September 14 2021 - 07:05

How long do the side effects of the Covid-19 vaccine last?

The national health department says it's normal to get minor side effects after getting vaccinated. 

These include soreness or redness of the arm where it was injected, tiredness and muscle ache. These side effects can last up to three days or a week at most. 

The department on Monday called on people who are experiencing persistent and serious side effects to report them to health professionals. 

The National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) says not everyone who gets the jab experiences side effects. 

Uncommon and serious side effects include difficulty breathing, swelling of the face and throat, a fast heartbeat, dizziness and weakness, and a bad body rash. 

September 14 2021 - 07:00

Pandemic, looting mean food price hikes, Competition Commission says

The recent violent looting in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng has resulted in high food prices, particularly on essential items such cooking oil, potatoes, meat and sugar. 

This is according to a new report by the Competition Commission.

The latest “Essential Food Pricing Monitoring Report” - part of a series of quarterly reports that track the impact of the pandemic and the economic crisis on food markets - has also revealed that the number of farmers in SA had gone down drastically over the past decade from 3,899 in January 2007 to just 1,053 by January this year.

September 14 2021 - 06:50

Florida governor threatens fines for cities, counties over vaccine mandates

 Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has threatened fines for cities and counties that mandate employees must get vaccinated against Covid-19, which has killed nearly 50,000 people in the state.

“If a government agency in the state of Florida forces a vaccine as a condition to employment, that violates Florida law,” DeSantis said in a press conference.

“And you will face a $5,000 fine for every single violation,” he added. “That's millions and millions of dollars potentially in fines.”

Florida has recorded more than 3.4 million cases of Covid-19 and over 49,000 deaths, according to a Reuters tally.

Florida is also one of several US states where Republican governors have sought to prevent local governments and school districts from mandating masks. In what has become a highly politicised tussle over Covid-19 precautions, these governors have said that such rules infringe on personal liberty.

Proponents of mask mandates say they are necessary to mitigate the pandemic as cases rise in areas with lower vaccination rates, driven by the highly infectious Delta variant of the coronavirus.

“We are not going to let people be fired because of a vaccine mandate,” DeSantis said on Monday.”

You don't just cast aside people who have been serving faithfully ... over what is basically a personal choice on their individual health.

“A Florida appeals court ruled in favour of Governor DeSantis on Friday, effectively reinstating his ban on mask mandates in the state's public schools.

Late in August, the Florida Department of Education withheld funds from two school districts that made masks mandatory in classrooms this fall.

Reuters

September 14 2021 - 06:23

New Zealand looks to boost Covid-19 vaccinations as new cases ease

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern asked New Zealanders on Tuesday to get vaccinated as soon as possible, as it was the only way to beat the spread of coronavirus and see curbs lifted in the biggest city of Auckland.

Tuesday's 15 new infections in New Zealand were a drop from Monday's figure of 33, but about 1.7 million people will stay in lockdown in Auckland until next week, as the government battles to hold down a cluster of the highly infectious Delta variant.

“The vaccine is the best tool we have in our toolbox and our ticket to greater freedom,” Ardern told a news conference. “The more people who are vaccinated, the fewer restrictions you have to have.”

Auckland's lockdown has shut schools, offices and public places, with people allowed to leave home only for exercise or to buy essential items. In the rest of the country, the lockdown was lifted last week.

New Zealand had been largely virus-free for months until a Delta outbreak forced a snap lockdown on Aug. 17. It has infected 970 people so far, most of them in Auckland.

The lockdowns and international border closure since March 2020 have been credited with holding down Covid-19, but a slow vaccination effort has spurred criticism for Ardern. Just 34% of the population of 5.1 million have been fully vaccinated.

To boost the programme, New Zealand has bought doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine from Spain and Denmark.

“There is nothing holding us back in Auckland when it comes to vaccines,” Ardern added. “There's capacity to administer 220,000 doses of vaccine in the region this week.”

Vaccine buses will begin plying this week to reach more people, she said. 

Reuters

September 14 2021 - 06:00

Shots for two, please! Pregnant and breastfeeding moms should get jabs, say experts

Messages for Mothers (M4M) recently held a digital event where experts fielded questions from pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers and women planning a pregnancy.

M4M is a collective of maternal health-focused organisations and on the panel were Prof Priya Soma-Pillay, head of obstetrics and gynaecology at Pretoria’s Steve Biko Academic Hospital, pharmacist Nsovo Mayimele and public health economist Kristal Duncan-Williams.

They said all the discussion about vaccines could be scary and confusing, and that, “unfortunately, false information is spread on social media or in person, and this stops people from making good decisions”. 

The panellists said it was important to discuss the risks and benefits with a healthcare provider and make decisions based on accurate information.

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