Expert Says Covid19 Herd Immunity May Not Be Reached, Vaccines Can Help SA Live with the Virus

Expert Says Covid19 Herd Immunity May Not Be Reached, Vaccines Can Help SA Live with the Virus

  • Professor of vaccinology Shabir Madhi says that the likelihood of South Africa reaching herd immunity is slim
  • Madhi stated that South Africa should be looking to ways of living with the coronavirus instead of aiming to reach herd immunity
  • He further stated that the vaccination programme is one of the ways South Africans can go back to a normal life while the coronavirus is still present

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President Cyril Ramaphosa while on a tour of various vaccination sites stated that with the current vaccine rollout plan, South Africa is well on its way to reaching herd immunity against the coronavirus.

Coronavirus, Covid-19, vaccination rollout, President Cyril Ramaphosa, herd immunity, South Africa
Professor of vaccinology at the University of the Witwatersrand Shabir Madhi says South Africa does not have the resources to eradicate the coronavirus and reach herd immunity. Image: Phill Magakoe
Source: Getty Images

According to The Citizen, over seven million South Africans have been vaccinated against Covid-19 so far and the government anticipates to vaccinate more people as the country receives more vaccines and even more volunteers to administer jabs.

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“With seven million people who have now been vaccinated, we should be soon heading for a population immunity," said Ramaphosa.

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While the president may be optimistic about the country's possibility of attaining herd immunity, professor of vaccinology at the University of the Witwatersrand Shabir A Madhi says that the idea presented in 2020 that we would eventually reach herd immunity was misplaced, according to a report by eNCA.

Madhi says with the rapid speed the coronavirus is able to mutate and become more transmissible and more deadly has taken the possibility of herd immunity off the table and stated that we should start moving away from the term.

"We should start to avoid using that term in the context of SARS-CoV-2, because it’s not going to materialise – or is unlikely to materialise – during our lifetimes," states Madhi.

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Madhi further stated that leaders are under the incorrect impression that the country has sufficient tools and means to rid the coronavirus when they encourage herd immunity.

Madhi also stated that continuing to spread the idea that herd immunity will happen will dampen vaccine confidence in the public. He stated that even if we are able to vaccinate 67% of the population, coronavirus outbreaks will still occur and therefore give people the idea that vaccines do not work.

Expert says that South Africans need to learn how to live with Covid-19

Madhi says after moving away from the idea that herd immunity is possible, we should be looking into ways that we can live with Covid-19 and added that vaccines are one way of helping us with a life with the coronavirus.

He stated that South Africa needs to ensure that individuals with comorbidities, as well as the elderly, are vaccinated as quickly as possible as a first step. He stated that if 20 million of the population can be vaccinated and 90% of that population is over 60 then South Africa can return to a somewhat normal lifestyle despite the coronavirus still being rampant.

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"It would also ensure a threshold that guaranteed its healthcare systems weren’t going to be overwhelmed, and that people were not going to die in large numbers," stated Madhi.

Wimpy to offer free coffee to those who show proof of coronavirus vaccination

Briefly News previously reported that in an attempt to increase the uptake of the Covid-19 vaccine, Wimpy is offering a free filter coffee to those who show proof of their vaccination.

The fast-food chain is using the tagline "Saying YAAAS to the future" to market the vaccine promotion across 450 of its locations.

However, there is some fine print. In order to qualify, a person needs to present their proof of vaccination within 48 hours of getting their jab. They can only claim a free coffee once and the promotion is strictly limited to filter coffee.

There have been similar drives to promote people getting vaccinated in other parts of the world in industries that have been hard-hit by Covid-19 restrictions.

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According to Business Insider, Americans have been offered a range of free food from famous brands in order to encourage people to get vaccinated.

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Source: Briefly.co.za

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