South Africans rush to get Covid-19 vaccine over mandate and Omicron fears

Residents of South African’s richest province and the nation’s omicron epicenter are rushing to get vaccinated, driving up national inoculation rates that were languishing before the sequencing of the new coronavirus variant.

South Africa administered 175,395 shots in the last 24 hours, a 5.6% increase from Monday and 41% higher than the same period on Thursday, the day the nation’s scientists announced discovery of the troubling new strain.

Almost a third of the inoculations were in Gauteng, the country’s most populous province.

Fears about the new variant are helping reduce vaccine hesitancy – something President Cyril Ramaphosa’s government hasn’t managed to achieve. Meanwhile, Covid-19 cases have surged in Africa’s most-developed nation, with authorities warning of an impending fourth wave.

The debate over whether to make vaccines obligatory for various public places is picking up pace as omicron takes hold in the country, which has fully inoculated about a third of its adult population.

In an address to South Africans over the weekend Ramaphosa said that while vigilance is important, the world has got to learn to live with Covid-19. Being inoculated is among the best options available to do that.


Read: Discovery modelling shows when peak of fourth Covid-19 wave will hit – as new infections surge

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South Africans rush to get Covid-19 vaccine over mandate and Omicron fears