Last week the Minerals Council South Africa announced that South Africa’s mining workplace vaccination programme reached a milestone with more than 200 000 employees and contractors either fully or partially vaccinated.
As of 22 September, a total of 203 007 mining employees and contractors in South Africa were immunised – around 45% of the workforce – with 49% now fully vaccinated.
These are impressive figures; however, they are tempered with dismal numbers in terms of total population statistics.
As of 26 September, only 14% of South Africans have been fully immunised. Leaders and health experts need to accept the reality of their expectations regarding 70% of populations are needed to be fully vaccinated before draconian pandemic regulations will lifted, are both uniformed and unrealistic.
Catherine Kyobutungi, Executive Director at African Population and Health Research Centre has commented that on average, out of 100 people in a high-income country, 61 have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. In 29 low-income countries, only 3 out of 100 people have received one dose of the vaccine. In the whole of Africa, about 10 out of 100 have received at least one dose and only 4 out of 100 are fully vaccinated.
“Such inequity means that while economies of high-income countries recover and life returns to normal, low-income countries will continue to struggle with slower economic recovery and the knock-on effects,” states Kyobutungi.
The top five vaccinated countries in Africa include three island states and two countries in North Africa with full vaccination rates ranging from 20% to 72%.
“Almost half of the countries in Africa have full vaccination rates below 2%,” adds Kyobutungi.
“In the medium term, this map will be invaluable in tracking how an increase in the COVID-19 vaccine uptake affects the countries’ ability to withstand new waves of infection.”