By Nompilo Gwala

With the local government elections less than two weeks ago, the Gauteng Command Council is warning the province could enter a fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in November.

Gauteng exited the third wave three weeks ago as new infections steadily declined. There was a slight uptick on Tuesday with a 1.6 percent increase in new infections in South Africa as a whole.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura has expressed concern that the municipal election, scheduled for November 1, could be a super spreader event.

“If we had more vaccinations, we wouldn’t be as worried. We are not even at 50% (nationally) with regards to single Pfizer doses given. We would be happier if we were at least 60%, and we still have a very long way to go,” he added. 

The government had set a target of immunising 70 percent of adults with at least one dose by year-end. Makhura admitted the province was unlikely to meet this target.

Gauteng unlikely to meet its vaccination target

“We are not retreating on this target, but the idea that we will reach 70% by mid-December is becoming increasingly elusive. We are vaccinating between 52000 – 58,000, and we have fallen below the target 65,000 – 70,000 range. That does worry us a great deal, and we can’t be happy with that.”

Makhura: People are. not coming back for their second dose.

Makhura added that a total of 5.3 million Covid-19 vaccines had been administered in Gauteng which is equivalent to 26% of the total vaccines administered across South Africa. The current problem faced is that people in the province had received a first Pfizer Covid-19 jab but not returned for a second shot.

“I am worried that we have had a million people who have taken their first doses and are not as enthusiastic as they are. We are appealing to them to turn up. Just that one million will make a big difference,” he said.

Makhura urged political parties to encourage their supporters to get vaccinated before the election.

“Election day is going to be possibly the most intense with regard to how many people are going to be getting out. From the elections, we know that we are going into the festive season and people are going to be travelling,” he said. – Health-e News

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