Health officials in KwaZulu-Natal are concerned about the large number of unvaccinated people in the province.
More than 4.4 million people have not received a single dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in the province.
The latest cycle of reports shows that the province leads in the number of active cases at the national level – more than 27,000, followed by Gauteng with more than 19,000 active cases.
Presenting the budget of the Department of Health for 2022-2023 earlier this week, Minister Joe Phala has allocated Rs 2 billion for vaccines. But despite the government’s continued financial commitment to vaccines, the spread in provinces such as KwaZulu-Natal is weak.
According to the province, just over 2 million people have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but almost twice that number are still at risk and have not been vaccinated.
Vice-Rector for Research and Innovation at KwaZulu-Natal University (UKZN), Professor Mossa Mashabela, says the abolition of the national state of disaster has led to complacency over COVID-19.
Mashabela says: “Now we are witnessing a different kind of pandemic, I think we are lagging behind, many people are still saying that mortality is not rising, but hospitalization is not rising, there is no pressure from the health system. Now we have to look at different indicators, and even this delay, if the government does not announce the fifth wave, is a problem, because South Africans depend on the fact that the government, which announces the fifth wave, takes things seriously. To get instructions on what to do in essence, we have surpassed all the indicators we have used in the past to assess whether we are in a new wave or not. ”
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Mashabela says distrust of information on the part of the government also contributes to fluctuations with the vaccine.
“In my opinion, the biggest factor in low vaccination is the fact that people get ambiguous information and they don’t know who to trust in terms of information, and if you look at it coupled with the fact that people don’t trust the government and the government is the main source of information on vaccination. If people do not trust the government and the government talks about vaccines, and they are not going to believe what they say, in particular, in the CPC it is a problem because we are politically divided, and it also divides our community, ”Mashabela explains.
The head of the KwaZulu-Natal Health Department, Dr. Sandil Shabalala, says the rise in Covid-19 infection is a cause for concern.
Shabalala says, “We see the numbers growing, but I wouldn’t say the country is on the fifth wave because I haven’t compared it to other provinces. Gauteng has more than a million confirmed cases, we go to 700,000, we have not exceeded them in the number of confirmed cases. The new cases that we seem to be leading now at this stage, even if we weren’t leading, we would be leading because at the moment we have options that seem very soft and people don’t die, but if would we get the option that is We will worry because people have to be admitted, people will die, so with any new case we are definitely worried ”.
The head of the KwaZulu-Natal health department, Dr. Sandil Tshabalala, explains:
Shabalala also spoke in detail about groups of unvaccinated locals.
“Black people do not come for vaccinations in almost all districts of our province. All the sites were filled because mostly white people were vaccinated. He is followed by Indians, then in colored areas, where more colored, they will come. But black people resist more when we are, at some point, led by the MEC to UMzinyathi engage some of the communities. It could be seen that the numbers are increasing, but not because there were no resources, but the problem is that they heard this fake news that they heard on social media and thought it was true that they were guided by it, ”he says. Shabalala.
The provincial health department says declining vaccination numbers have forced them to close some vaccine sites.
The divide between vaccinated and unvaccinated is growing: WHO