UNICEF South Africa COVID-19 Situation Report No. 17, June 1st – July 7th, 2021 – South Africa
UNICEF supports the introduction of COVID-19 vaccinations through direct health and risk communication and support for Community Engagement (RCCE). Cold chain specialists in 5 provinces offer training, a COVID-19 vaccination guide has been developed and health workers have been trained in the Med Safety Application – an electronic tool for reporting adverse events after vaccination. Communication and community engagement also continues to promote vaccines, comply with COVID-19 prevention measures, and monitor misinformation.
UNICEF volunteers support vaccine registration by helping elderly people register for a vaccine.
The new, adjusted blocking measures of alert level 4 have had an impact on school operations, as schools are to be closed on June 30 and reopened on July 19 (a week earlier than prescribed in the calendar). UNICEF’s distance and home learning tools remain an important resource.
On June 23, vaccinations were opened for employees in the education sector, including teachers, cleaners and grocers. The sector identified 582,000 employees to be vaccinated, of whom more than 400,000 were vaccinated.
• South Africa entered an adapted Level 4 Alert lockdown on June 27 to curb the spread of the third wave of COVID-19 and reduce the burden on healthcare facilities. The evidence suggests that the Delta variant is driving a severe third wave in South Africa and the country continues to have the highest levels of COVID-19 in Africa.
• The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) reports that on June 19, people aged 19 years and above found 13.4% of SARS-CoV-2 tests, 10.2% of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases and 4, 2% of all COVID-19 cases accounted for -19-associated admissions and 0.7% of COVID-19-associated deaths. Of all deaths in people aged 19 and over, 146 (38.4%) were in adolescents aged 15 to 19 and 121 (31.8%) were under one year old. Of 219 (57.6%) hospital deaths with available underlying disease data, 123 (56.2%) reported ≥ 1 underlying disease. The data suggest that the fluctuation in the number of cases in children is not directly related to when schools are opened or closed, suggesting that schools are not the leading cause of infections in children.
• South Africa’s national vaccine launch strategy has made higher profits following the purchase of an increased supply of Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson vaccines. The country received 1.3 million doses of Pfizer vaccines through the COVAX facility on June 27.
• The increased range of vaccines has resulted in the expansion of phase 2 of the national vaccine rollout strategy with, in addition to the vaccination campaign in the education sector, by members of the police, the South African National Defense Force (SANDF) and people over 50. Age now eases entitlement to a COVID-19 vaccine.