At the current rate, SA will hit its Covid-19 vaccination target in about September 2028

Business Insider SA

  • Covid-19 vaccination levels are dropping fast, putting South Africa's herd immunity target well out of reach.
  • People are reading the end of pandemic restrictions as a signal that vaccination is no longer required, say government monitors.
  • On Wednesday, less than 6,000 people received a first jab.
  • At that rate, it will take until just about September 2028 to reach the 67% coverage target.
  • That is not counting getting people to show up for booster shots – or the continuing slowdown in the vaccination rate.
  • For more stories go to

At the end of August 2021, with vaccination infrastructure in place, government communication hitting its mark, and fear of Covid-19 and long Covid prominent, South Africa averaged 146,000 coronavirus vaccinations per day.

Since then, things have changed.

On Wednesday, just 18,896 vaccine shots were administered, official data shows, and only 5,832 people received their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine.

That adds to more than 20 million people who have had at least one shot, putting South Africa above 50% coverage of the adult population, a milestone considered worthy of celebration.

See also | Govt plans to celebrate hitting a 50% vaccine rate – 16 months after setting a 67% target

But at the current rate – assuming no further slowdown – it will take another 2,250 such days to reach the other 13 million people necessary to reach the herd immunity target of 67%.

That will see South Africa see its target, set in February 2021, met in just about September 2028, more than eight years after the World Health Organisation declared a pandemic.

A graph showing a sharp decline in weekly vaccinat

Vaccine rates had already been dropping sharply as infections and deaths declined, and pandemic restrictions were dismantled.

But the removal of the last restrictions on pubic life, including the most visible public health measure, masks, was "interpreted as the end of the need for vaccines", said a government social listening team this week

That team also reported that organised opponents of the vaccine rollout had celebrated the end of restrictions, with claims "that unvaccinated people are heroes for standing against state tyranny and that their actions have forced the government now to retreat."

Advisors have recommended integrating Covid-19 vaccination into everyday healthcare services, including by offering shots to adults who bring in children for routine immunisations.

But all data points to a decline of trust in the efficacy and need for any type of immunisation.

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