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While South Africa’s Covid-19 vaccination drive is beginning to kick into gear, the third wave has taken hold of a number of provinces.
The department of health revealed on Tuesday evening that over a million senior citizens above the age of 60 received the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine under phase two of the national rollout.
KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng are leading the charge with the most number of vaccines administered. Over 282 000 people have received the vaccine in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng follows with over 265 000 people vaccinated.
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize told reporters while visiting hospitals in the Northern Cape on Tuesday that four provinces are currently grappling with their third waves.
“The Northern Cape is in its third wave and it has been like that for a few weeks. We’re in the third wave in the Free State, Northern Cape, Northwest and Gauteng, but the country as a whole is not yet in a third wave.
“Our models have shown that Gauteng will have much higher numbers than the rest of the country, so we are monitoring that situation,” he said.
The Northern Cape has only administered around 9 200 vaccines to elderly citizens since the start of phase two in mid-May.
“My visit here was to look at what else we can do because fundamentally, the Northern Cape has a scarcity of resources, under-funding human resources, and infrastructure. There are also long distances between the various centres and the population is very dispersed,” said Mkhize.
President Cyril Ramaphosa placed Mkhize on special leave on Tuesday so he can attend to allegations levelled against him in the Digital Vibes debacle.
Standing in for Mkhize as acting Minister of Health until further notice is Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane.
She said that government remains committed and capable of managing the Covid-19 pandemic, executing a ramped up vaccination programme and running the national programmes.