Covid-19: Almost 90% of people hospitalised in Tshwane not vaccinated, NICD

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  • The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) says 87% of patients admitted to hospital in Tshwane are not vaccinated against Covid-19. 
  • The NICD says unvaccinated people are more likely to die from the disease. 
  • The Gauteng health department says it is ready for the fourth wave. 

Eighty-seven percent of all patients admitted to hospital with Covid-19 in Tshwane are unvaccinated.  

Dr Wassila Jassat from the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) said on Monday that their surveillance has revealed that unvaccinated patients fared worse than vaccinated ones, adding that 87% of all admissions in Tshwane are unvaccinated patients. 

"We have been tracking this across the country since February and what we can say is there is a much higher chance of death among those who are unvaccinated."  

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Jassat said there have been 455 hospital admissions in the Tshwane area in the last two weeks.

"The vast majority of patients are unvaccinated people with a small proportion of people being partially or fully vaccinated."   

Vaccination, it seems, also helps with avoiding infection, said Jassat.

The health department's Dr Nicholas Crisp said: "We currently have 16 and half-million people vaccinated. It is a very small number of those people who tested positive [for Covid-19]. It's minute in comparison to unvaccinated people."  

Unben Pillay, a Gauteng general practitioner, said they had seen a sharp increase in cases in the last two weeks but that the cases are very mild.

It's very mild. We are seeing patients present with dry cough, fever, night sweats, and a lot of body pains. Vaccinated people tend to do much better.


Gauteng preparations

Dr Michelle Groome, head of the division of public health surveillance and response at the NICD, said cases in Gauteng were the highest in the country.  

"Most of our daily increases at this stage are from Gauteng at about 81%. There has been a tremendous increase in the last 10 to 14 days." 

The province also said it was ready for the fourth wave.  

Dr Freddy Kgongwana, Head of Hospital Services at the Gauteng Health Department, said the province currently has 4 407 functional beds. 

ALSO READ | Omicron variant: Answers 'weeks' away, warns top scientist as 'unjustified' SA shut-out slammed

He said the province also had enough oxygen availability. 

"We are currently having meetings with Afrox on a weekly basis. In terms of oxygen, we can boldly say we are secure." 

Kgongwana said the department has 6 000 Covid-19 personnel and that their healthcare workers increased from 68 000 last year to 81 000 currently.

According to Kgongwana, the department still wants to hire an additional 1 000 healthcare workers. 

"We need to reassure our community that we are ready for the Covid-19 fourth wave. Let us assure our community that we have very dedicated workers in the system." 

Vaccine mandates 

On Sunday, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the government would put a task team together to look into mandatory vaccination.  

Crisp said as things stand, the department has mandated non-smoking in South Africa.

"When I was a younger person, anyone could smoke anywhere, anyplace, anytime. We now have mandates that say you may not smoke at those places. You still have a choice to be a smoker, but you still have to comply with were not to smoke. 

"When we get this working group to finally make recommendations (on the vaccine mandates), that's the kind of thing we expect. You may just have to stay home and not do certain things."

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