South Africa opens Covid-19 vaccinations to everyone 18 and older

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s cabinet has announced that it will open Covid-19 vaccines to all adults from Friday (20 August).

“As part of increasing the vaccination roll-out programme, cabinet approved the vaccination of persons aged between 18 years and 35 years from 20 August 2021,” it said in a statement on Thursday.

“Scientific evidence confirms that vaccinated people stand a better chance of surviving from Covid-19 than unvaccinated people. Therefore, we must all dispel the unfounded and misleading conspiracy theories about the vaccines and choose life by vaccinating.”

The government previously said that the 18-35 age cohort will not need to register to vaccinate and will be allowed to walk in for vaccinations. A list of sites can be found here.

To date, over nine million vaccines have been administered in South Africa, with over seven million people partially vaccinated and over four million fully vaccinated.

On Wednesday (18 August), the country reported 14,728 new cases of Covid-19, taking the total reported to 2,638,981.

Deaths have reached 78,377 (+384), while recoveries have climbed to 2,402,020, leaving the country with a balance of 158,584 active cases. The total number of vaccines administered is 9,962,111 (+208,973).

Lockdown restrictions

Cabinet said it would also keep the country at an adjusted level 3 lockdown based on advice received from the Ministerial Advisory Committee.

While health experts and government officials said that South Africa has passed the peak of its third wave of Covid-19 infections, a spike in cases has caused alarm.

Speaking this week, newly-appointed health minister Dr Joe Phaahla Phaahla said that as the third wave is still ongoing, South Africans should not expect a relaxation in restrictions.

“We are still far from where we can say the third wave is out. As the department, we will be in no way recommend a relaxation of the restriction at this stage,” he said.

Read: 80% of South Africans may have already had Covid-19: Discovery

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South Africa opens Covid-19 vaccinations to everyone 18 and older