Data shows 98% of over-60s who died in Western Cape at peak of Covid-19 third wave were not fully vaccinated

Cases were tracked over a week at peak of third wave infections

19 September 2021 - 16:15
People over 60 who had received Covid-19 vaccines during the Western Cape's third wave peak were far less likely to die, be hospitalised, or become ill.
People over 60 who had received Covid-19 vaccines during the Western Cape's third wave peak were far less likely to die, be hospitalised, or become ill.
Image: Sebabatso Mosamo/Sunday Times

Data collected over a week during the peak of the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in the Western Cape indicates that vaccines were “highly effective” at preventing infection, hospitalisation and deaths in the province's over-60s population.

People over 60 years old are considered to be a high risk group for Covid-19 infection and during the third wave 2,455 of this group contracted the virus between August 14 and 20.

Provincial health data revealed that 92% of those who contracted the virus during this period were not fully vaccinated. Fully vaccinated means 14 days or more after the second Pfizer jab or 28 days post the Johnson & Johnson jab.

The health department limited its data to this age group to check vaccine efficiency as this was the population group with the highest vaccine coverage at the time.

The department said on Sunday that of the over 60s who contracted the virus during this time, 729 of them required hospitalisation and 96% of them were not fully vaccinated.

And of the 292 over-60s who died, 98.3% were not fully vaccinated.

“From this data it is clear that vaccines are highly effective, and that getting fully vaccinated will help protect you from ending up in hospital or dying,” said the department.

“While the vaccine is not 100% effective, results of the current vaccines in use indicate they are both safe and highly effective and offer excellent protection against severe disease and death.”

Data from the Western Cape’s six regions during this time painted a telling picture.

The Cape Town Metro population of just under 474,000 senior citizens was 40% vaccinated but of the 1,413 infected, 90% were not fully vaccinated.

Of the 433 Covid-19 hospital admissions in this age group, 94.7% were not fully vaccinated. 

And of the 177 deaths, 97% were not fully vaccinated.

“Of the few cases of deaths of those fully vaccinated, investigations found it was due to Covid-19 itself [a ‘breakthrough’ severe infection], in patients who were very elderly and/or with comorbidities. It was not caused by the vaccine,” said the department.

In the Cape Winelands with an over-60 population of about 84,600:

  • 299 cases were diagnosed, of which 91% were not fully vaccinated
  • 85 cases needed hospitalisation, of which 98.8% were not fully vaccinated
  • 42 deaths were recorded, of which none were fully vaccinated — this means 100% of reported deaths were people not fully vaccinated

In the Central Karoo with an over-60 population of about 9,660:

 

  • 46 cases were diagnosed, of which 96% were not fully vaccinated
  • 19 cases needed hospitalisation, of which none were fully vaccinated - this means 100% of admissions were not fully vaccinated
  • Seven deaths were recorded, of which none were fully vaccinated.

In the Garden Route with an over-60 population of about 81,200 people:

  • 333 cases were diagnosed, of which 96% were not fully vaccinated
  • 96 cases needed hospitalisation, 95.8% were not fully vaccinated
  • 31 deaths were recorded, of which none were fully vaccinated

In the Overberg with an over-60 population of about 32,150:

  • 132 cases were diagnosed, of which 95% were not fully vaccinated
  • 36 cases needed hospitalisation, of which none were fully vaccinated
  • 11 deaths were recorded, of which none were fully vaccinated

In the West Coast with an over-60 population of about 38,450:

  • 207 cases were diagnosed, of which 94% were not fully vaccinated
  • 57 cases needed hospitalisation, of which 96.5% were not fully vaccinated
  • 23 deaths were recorded, of which none were fully vaccinated

“This data analysis again proves vaccines are safe and offer excellent protection against death. We all need to play our part in securing our future,” said the department.

As of September 15, 57% of people over 60 years old were fully vaccinated in the province.

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