Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize warned that South Africa and the rest of the African continent must prepare for a possible third wave of the coronavirus.
He said this during an interview with SABC News, where he also discussed how less than 10 countries in Africa are able to self-finance their vaccination rollouts. Most countries on the continent require assistance from the World Health Organization-led (WHO) COVAX facility to procure the jabs.
“What we have seen is that in most of the countries the second wave has come to be much heavier, fiercer and costs more lives. It is also likely that we might face a third wave. There is no way of being able to prevent it, the third wave. Its impact will probably be more devastating,” Mkhize said.
On Wednesday [February 3], Zimbabwe announced that its citizens will have to pay for their own COVID-19 vaccinations, causing outrage in the country. Minister of Finance Mthuli Mcube informed citizens that it would be cheaper for them to purchase their vaccinations than personal protective equipment (PPE) currently costs in the country.
Zimbabwe put aside $100-million to procure vaccinations, but expects to recover most of this from the costs their citizens will carry. According to Mcube, this will also help government to raise enough resources to cover its entire population beyond the 10-million herd immunity target.
About 100 000 Zimbabweans will receive free vaccines thanks to a donation from China, which expected to happen within the next week.
During a “family meeting” on Monday [February 1], President Cyril Ramaphosa said South Africa had recorded its lowest daily increase in infections since December 2020, and that the country has officially passed the peak of the second wave.
Hospital admissions have dropped, while the daily number of infections have almost halved.
According to Ramaphosa, the country will achieve herd immunity once 67% of the population is vaccinated – this equates to around 40-million South Africans.