Wed. Oct 27th, 2021

South African street vendor Palesa Sekwere, who was initially afraid of side effects, is slowly coming up with the idea of ​​getting a coronavirus vaccine.

“I’m convinced. . . the time will come to tell myself I have to get it, ”said the 32-year-old in Soweto, the largest township in Johannesburg.

But the bigger problem for Sekwere is that she will have to tear herself away from the food stall where she sells snacks from one rand, such as health, a kind of donut. So, even though her stall is just across from a clinic where dozens are sitting on plastic chairs waiting for jabs, ‘I can not [easily join them]”Because I work here,” she said.

So far this year, South Africa has led large African economies by fully vaccinating 17.5 percent of its population, or 7 million people, with either Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine or Pfizer’s dual-dose disk. That compares with less than 3 percent of Africans in general, on a continent at risk of falling behind as richer countries pursue limited world supplies.

Even though his relative financial ability made it possible to buy vaccines in advance and on a large scale, the survey began to shoot up to the goals set by President Cyril Ramaphosa’s government, mainly because of the difficulty of distributing jabs to the poor.

Jabs are open to all over the age of 18 and the public and private sectors give away 1 million doses about every four days, by every 14 days in June. It is still below the daily capacity of about 300,000 to 400,000 doses, a sign that the rise is marking.

Graph showing how Africa is far behind other regions with Covid vaccinations

With more than 200,000 estimated deaths from Covid-19 due to excessive death rates, South Africa is the African country hardest hit by the pandemic, and about three-quarters of South Africans want vaccines, according to recent surveys. .

But the poorest are also most likely to have difficulty traveling to vaccinations, holidays or accessing vaccination schedules. The rural Eastern Cape and Limpopo, two regions with outreach programs designed to tackle these problems, have vaccinated the majority of their adult population from all provinces.

“We have a survey problem, but I think it has to do with distribution,” said the legacy of limited access to health care and earlier bottlenecks in stock rather than hesitation, says Russell Rensburg, director of South Africa’s Rural Health Advocacy Project.

“Those who are left behind”

As the uptake of vaccines slows down, some South African businesses are starting to set up vaccinations. In early September, Discovery, the largest provider of medical schemes in South Africa, and Sanlam, Africa’s largest insurer, said they needed all workers from the beginning of next year – the country’s first major listed companies to do so.

The South African government is not yet considering a national mandate, said South African Health Minister Joe Phaahla. “Our priority is to mobilize and persuade people to come forward voluntarily.” South Africa’s Football Association meanwhile plans to offer free tickets to vaccinated fans for an upcoming national match against Ethiopia.

In any case, vaccine mandates by employers can have relatively little impact in a country with an official unemployment rate of more than 34 percent, and where many like Sekwere depend on informal work for their livelihood.

Concerns about hesitation figures in richer countries are being sent to a country where logistics is a bigger obstacle, Rensburg said. ‘The US previously received 50 percent vaccinations [hesitancy] has become a problem. We are not even at 20 percent. ”

South Africa must focus on ‘those who are left behind or who did not show up’, such as high risks above 50s, Rensburg said. “We have the tools, we just do not apply them. . . If we can get these rural vaccinations right, we can hopefully provide a baseline for other African countries. ”

Desperate for stock

Outside of South Africa, the priority on the continent remains the insurance of stocks. Rwandan President Paul Kagame said this month that compulsory jabs are a ‘far-fetched problem’ for his country, where only about 900,000 of the 13 million inhabitants have been fully vaccinated so far. ‘How can you make a vaccine compulsory if you do not have vaccines? he said.

Graph showing vaccine difference between G7 and Rwanda, Kenya and Nigeria

Last week, Covax, the World Health Organization’s program to deliver vaccines to developing countries, reduced its delivery forecasts this year by about 25 percent. After problems with the supply of AstraZeneca at the Serum Institute of India, the African Union (AU) has signed an agreement to receive 400 million doses of Jus by next year.

‘We doubled J&J. Because it is one dose, it is a very good product for us, ‘says Strive Masiyiwa, the special envoy of the AU who is responsible for obtaining vaccines. J&J deliveries remained sporadic, he said. Even South Africa has received only about 12 percent of the 31 million doses the country has purchased, according to estimates by the South African Health Justice Initiative, an NGO campaigning for Africa’s access to vaccines.

For now, before a dreaded fourth wave, South Africa is trying to increase the recording of the piece by emphasizing the availability of supplies. ‘Where we are now, even if the whole of Soweto were to show up, we could vaccinate them. . . all we need are weapons, ”Health Minister Phaahla said last week during a vaccination tour of the township.

Although “it’s good to take the vaccine”, it is not easy to leave work and cross the sprawling town, said Cebile Nqambule, 40, another street vendor in Soweto.

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