South Africa’s Wuhan pneumonia (novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19) confirmed cases have recently skyrocketed, and although authorities have rushed to speed up vaccination, medical experts say it is too late for this wave of the epidemic to take effect until the next wave hits.
According to the Associated Press, the daily average number of deaths in South Africa in the past 7 days has increased more than 1 times than the previous 2 weeks, with more than 360 people dying of the disease every day, and South Africa accounts for more than 35% of the more than 5.8 million cases accumulated in 54 African countries.
South Africa, with a population of 60 million, currently has more than 4 million people (6.5%) who have received at least one dose of the vaccine, of which 1.3 million are fully vaccinated. Although South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa reacted quickly at the beginning of the outbreak and imposed a blockade in early March last year, the vaccine has been criticized for being too slow to be ordered.
In addition, South Africa has encountered many difficulties in the promotion of the vaccination, finally ushered in the first 1 million doses of AZ vaccine in February this year, but found that AZ does not protect well against the country’s prevalent Beta virus, so it turned to buy the Joulsen vaccine that can fight the variant virus, but because of the lack of production is simply not enough to vaccinate.
The South African pharmaceutical company Aspen then contracted with Joulsen to manufacture 200 million doses per year using raw materials shipped from the United States, but had to scrap the vaccine when the first 2 million doses were produced because of concerns about blood clots and possible contamination of the raw materials in the U.S. plant.
Fortunately, the 40 million doses of Pfizer purchased in South Africa in recent weeks have gradually arrived, and there are 31 million doses of mostly locally packaged Jolson vaccine available. As a result, South Africa began vaccinating people over the age of 60 in late May, while school teachers and police officers were open to injections from June, and people over the age of 50 were even allowed to administer the shot in early July.
However, medical experts say it is too late to reduce the deadly impact of the current epidemic’s peak, and accelerating the pace of vaccination now will only mitigate the impact of the next wave of the Wulong epidemic.