Covid-19: Not a single vaccinated healthcare worker in Limpopo died during third wave - health dept

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(Photo by Brenton Geach/Gallo Images via Getty Images)
(Photo by Brenton Geach/Gallo Images via Getty Images)
  • The Limpopo health department said none of its vaccinated healthcare worker had died during the third wave. 
  • Covid-19 vaccination rates have slumped across the country over the last few weeks. 
  • The department added it was too early to revise its vaccine targets.

The Limpopo health department said not a single Covid-19 vaccinated healthcare worker died during the third wave.  

Health MEC Phophi Ramathuba added she believed this would help vaccine-hesitant people get the jab. 

"The Limpopo health department can confirm they have not lost any of their healthcare workers in the current wave, who were vaccinated. We had reports in the previous wave. This time, there has been no report. Vaccines save lives."

For a few weeks, the country's vaccination drive smashed inoculation targets, with up to 250 000 people per day being vaccinated against Covid-19. However, it has hit a slump over the last three weeks, with an average of around 175 000 vaccines administered daily, and many sites sitting empty.  

While the country has no shortage of vaccines, what are missing are people walking into vaccination sites to get the jab.  

Currently, vaccinations are open for people aged 35 and above.

It is expected to open soon for those 18 and above. 

A survey released on Wednesday, which was conducted by the University of Johannesburg and Human Sciences Research Council, indicated vaccine hesitancy was predominately prevalent among young people.  

Overall vaccine acceptance, according to the report, stood at 72%.

In the 18 to 24 age cohort, acceptance levels stood at 55%, while in the 25 to 34 cohort, acceptance was at 66% and 78% for those aged 35 to 54.

READ | Healthcare workers in the third wave: 'We are living in the shadows of death'

Ramathuba said the findings were similar to what the province was facing.

Since the window period opened for the 35-year-old cohort, vaccinations in the province have slowed down. 

"The last couple of weeks have seen the Covid-19 vaccination drive hit a slump," she added.

Ramathuba said the province had vaccinated 70% of its targeted population in the over 60 age group, but was struggling to reach the same numbers in the other age cohorts. 

"The 35 to 49 age group is one area that we thought we would not have any problems. But they are not showing up to vaccination stations. There is still a lot of vaccine hesitancy. We have come up with our strategies as to how can we work on that."

One of the strategies, she added, was taking the vaccines to people.

"With older people, having the vaccine sites at hospitals was not a problem - that is where they usually go because they are sickly. Young people never go to hospitals, so maybe we need to take the vaccines to them."

Ramathuba said the province had started vaccinating people at their workplaces in the farming and tourism industry.

"Some people want to be vaccinated - but, when the sites are open, they are at work. When they finish at work, sites are closed."

She added strategies, which helped in the older age cohorts, were not working with young people. 

READ | 80% of South Africans may have had Covid-19, Discovery says

"What helped with the older age groups was mobilisation by religious leaders and community leaders. The young age groups are less likely to listen to religious leaders. They will tell you that they do their own research and are seeing things on social media. This is where the fake news comes in."


The national health department plans to vaccinate 70% of the adult population by the end of the year. Currently, only about 12% are vaccinated.  

Department spokesperson Popo Maja said vaccine hesitancy was worrying, but it was too early to push targets back.   

"As much as we are concerned about the current vaccine uptake, it is too early to think about revising the targets. Hence, we are embarking on demand creation activities to encourage eligible people to vaccinate to protect themselves and their loved ones."

He added the department was trying to fight vaccine hesitancy.

"The government, in collaboration with various stakeholders, is working hard to identify some of the major contributing factors to the slow uptake of vaccines in order to use the relevant strategies to address this challenge."

If you come across Covid-19 vaccination information that you do not trust, read Covid-19 vaccine myths debunked: Get the facts here. If you can't find the facts you're looking for, email us at the address mentioned in the article and we will verify the information with medical professionals.

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