Western Cape on track to exit third wave by September 27, says Alan Winde
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Cape Town - Western Cape Premier Alan Winde said as the province has passed the peak of the third wave and infections, admissions and deaths continue to decline, the province is on track to exit the third wave by September 27.
“The province will have officially exited the third wave once we reach a daily caseload of approximately 530 cases a day or 15% of cases compared to the peak of the third wave.
“While this is welcomed, we must continue to practice the lifesaving behaviours that we have learnt throughout the pandemic to prevent spikes or outbreaks, particularly as we approach the summer season,” Winde said.
Winde was joined by the chief executive officer (CEO) of South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA), Dr Boitumelo Semete-Makokotlela, and the chair of the board of SAHPRA, Professor Helen Rees during his weekly digital conference pertaining to province’s response to Covid-19.
Provincial healthcare platforms have shown a decrease in Covid-19 case numbers with approximately 1,000 new diagnoses daily, the proportion of positive Covid-19 tests have decreased to 16.3%. Admissions and deaths have decreased with an average of 170 new admissions daily and approximately 52 deaths per day.
The province currently has 2,466 Covid-19 patients in hospital, 1.399 in public and 1,067 in private hospital settings.
“The Western Cape has vaccinated more people, as a percentage of total adult population, than any other province.
“The Western Cape has vaccinated (with at least one dose) approximately 36.6% of its adult population and is the leading province in the percentage of the 18+ population vaccinated to date,” Winde said.
By Wednesday, 1, 821, 815 individuals had received at least one dose of the vaccines.
The total number of fully vaccinated individuals is 133 038 or 22.75% of the adult population.
The public sector has received 2,671, 240 vaccine doses which include 2 346 510 single doses of Pfizer and 324,730 doses of Johnson & Johnson.
Winde added the province has scaled up its vaccination capacity and can now vaccinate over 500 000 people a day, ensuring 200 000 vaccines are administered a week.
During the digital conference, it was explained that work done by SAHPRA is in line with the International Coalition of Medicines Regulatory Authorities and the World Health Organisation (WHO).
This is done alongside regulatory authorities in the USA, Australia, Canada, Europe, Nigeria and Brazil.
During its presentation, SAHPRA showed its work conducted to ensure vaccine safety is in line with international norms and standards.
The process to ensure this includes verifying the applicant is licensed, SAHPRA compliant and can oversee the necessary processes, ensuring each production site complies with good manufacturing processes and the necessary evaluations are conducted.
Ensuring the production process adheres to best practices and necessary assessments are conducted, pre-clinical data is evaluated to ensure vaccine trials meet all regulatory requirements.
Clinical trials are assessed in terms of safety data and providing evidence of the vaccines ability to prevent Covid-19, ensuring vaccine schedules are aligned to the clinical data, product labelling and patient information leaflet.
Applicants who are rejected are assisted in appealing to the CEO of SAHPRA within 20 days, they can further appeal to the health minister and verifying lot released requirements to ensure easy accessibility of rest reports, transportation, lot summary protocol and cold chain verification.
“In a period where there is so much misinformation being spread on social media, it was encouraging to hear the extensive efforts undertaken by SAHPRA to ensure that vaccines are safe to use,” Winde said.
He said the vaccines are safe to administer and there are rare instances in which people experience side effects.
Winde said as of September 10 the provincial health department found the most common adverse side effects reported and were mostly mild. This includes: 18.1% cases reported headaches, 15.1% of cases reported general body pain and 9.9% of cases reported a fever over 38ºC.
He said of the reported side effects, most cases are mild and serious side effects ‘remain extremely rare’.
“At a recent briefing by SAHPRA it was highlighted that while there have been reports of common adverse side-effects from Covid-19 vaccines, there have been no confirmed cases of deaths linked to the vaccine.
“Between May and August 2021, following an extensive investigation by SAHPRA’s experts in their field, 40 deaths required investigation and the findings by the experts confirmed 34 cases were unrelated to the vaccine and six cases had insufficient information to conclude,” Winde added.