This week, South Africa tailored its vaccine technique after ‘disappointing outcomes’ for the AstraZeneca jab, the State of the Nation Handle targeted squarely on tackling Covid-19 and recovering the financial system, and pupils, academics and oldsters nervous about faculties reopening.
South Africa adapts its vaccine technique
On Sunday, 7 February, Well being Minister Zweli Mkhize announced a serious change to South Africa’s vaccine roll-out: well being employees would now obtain the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and never the Oxford/AstraZeneca shot as deliberate. This got here after the Oxford/AstraZeneca trial confirmed “disappointing results” that the vaccine didn’t work effectively towards the brand new variant, 501Y.V2, initially detected in South Africa.
Within the following days it was burdened that this didn’t imply the vaccine was ineffective. The World Well being Organisation agrees. The info present it doesn’t work as effectively towards gentle illness, nevertheless it in all probability does shield towards extreme illness, hospital admission and dying, according to the principal investigator within the South African arm of the trial, Professor Shabir Madhi, on Tuesday, 9 February. Scientists are nonetheless deciding what ought to be carried out with the million doses of the vaccine, however Madhi says it shouldn’t be used “in somebody younger and wholesome and never at a excessive threat of extreme illness”.
The subsequent day, Mkhize confirmed that the vaccination of well being employees with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine can start subsequent week. It will likely be half of a giant implementation examine within the area. The corporate had submitted a rolling submission for approval to the South African Well being Merchandise Regulatory Authority final week, in line with the Medical Analysis Council president and the principal investigator for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine trial in South Africa, Professor Glenda Grey. This vaccine has the next efficacy towards the brand new pressure for the prevention of reasonable illness and extreme sickness hospital admission and dying in contrast with the AstraZeneca vaccine. Mkhize stated a brand new vaccine schedule can be drawn up shortly.
Beating the pandemic is the ‘main goal of all we do’, says Ramaphosa
This yr’s State of the Nation Address was all about Covid-19 – how one can overcome it and get well from it. President Cyril Ramaphosa stated tackling Covid-19 is probably the most central challenge, however should embrace therapeutic the financial system. Financial progress and reform wanted to be sped up and corruption eradicated.
The R350 Covid-19 help grant has been prolonged for 3 months and the Unemployment Insurance coverage Fund Non permanent Worker/Employer Reduction Scheme has been prolonged to 15 March. He confirmed that healthcare employees will obtain the Johnson & Johnson vaccine from subsequent week.
Academics, pupils and oldsters anxious forward of faculty reopening
Academics ought to be instrumental within the reopening of colleges, in line with a brand new analysis paper by the Public Affairs Analysis Institute launched on 11 February. The paper seems to be at classes learnt over the previous yr and recommends methods to enhance the best way reopenings are dealt with. It additionally highlights the necessary function dad and mom can play if they’re concerned of their youngsters’s schooling and argues that the definition of distance studying must be expanded past on-line studying. Zukiswa Pikoli reports on the panel dialogue.
‘No reality’ in theories linking 5G to Covid-19
In January, unfounded theories linking 5G to Covid-19 grew to become so rife and harmful in KwaZulu-Natal that the provincial authorities launched an consciousness marketing campaign to dispel the myths. Perturbed by the worldwide and nationwide rise of those concepts, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Analysis held a webinar to debunk them. Two of its prime researchers defined how 5G works and dispelled probably the most distinguished myths intimately. Their conclusion: there’s completely no reality to the theories. Learn extra here.
District Six receives R1.1m in donation drive
Since September 2020, the District Six Museum has raised R1.1-million via its Love Letters marketing campaign. It appealed for donations after Covid-19 exacerbated its monetary difficulties and at last issues are slowly beginning to flip round.
And the museum has many plans to get individuals again into the house and telling tales once more. As Suné Payne writes, the museum nonetheless held its remembrance stroll on 11 February – the day District Six was declared a “whites solely” space underneath the Group Areas Act of the apartheid regime. The gang might need been smaller, however as museum director Chrischene Julius stated: “I feel we don’t wish to have an unbroken ceremony – the custom… you wish to go to the location, we would like to have the ability to type of mark that second in Cape City’s life and Cape City’s historical past.”
Relative of SARS-CoV-2 present in bats, pangolins
Analysis revealed this week reveals coronavirus associated to SARS-CoV-2 has been present in bats and pangolins at a wildlife sanctuary and at a checkpoint in Thailand. The researchers stated this discovering doesn’t “pinpoint” the origins of SARS-CoV-2, however exhibits the extent of the world through which its relations have been detected. Tiara Walters unpacks the implications of the examine.
Researchers make clear why individuals do – and don’t – adjust to laws
A brand new survey has proven that a part of what impacts whether or not an individual is keen to adjust to lockdown laws is linked to how good a job they assume Ramaphosa is doing dealing with the pandemic. Based on the findings after three rounds of the College of Johannesburg/Human Sciences Analysis Council Covid-19 Democracy Survey, 80% of adults in South Africa assume he’s doing a “excellent job” or a “good job”. The researchers increase on their findings here. DM/MC
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