Gauteng covid-19 vaccine and third wave
(Photo by Alet Pretorius/Gallo Images via Getty Images)
  • Gauteng currently accounts for 60% of all new Covid-19 cases recorded in South Africa, driving the country's third wave.
  • Despite a large share of vaccination sites and small geographic size, the province's rollout is moving at a slower pace than the national average.
  • Just 3.17% of Gauteng's population has received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.
  • Limpopo, which has far fewer vaccination sites, has administered doses to 3.63% of its population.
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Gauteng is driving South Africa's third wave of Covid-19 infections, while its vaccination rate is slower than the national average, falling behind provinces with fewer resources such as Limpopo and the Free State.

South Africa's disrupted Covid-19 vaccine rollout is approaching the 2 million mark, with more doses administered in Gauteng than in any other province. Of the 1,965,812 doses administered throughout the country by Wednesday, almost a quarter – some 491,411 jabs – had been dispensed at vaccination sites in Gauteng.

But the country's most populous province, which accounts for almost 60% of all new cases recorded in South Africa and recently entered unchartered territory in surpassing the second wave's peak, is not leading the national rollout despite having the largest share of vaccination sites.

Just 3.29% of all South Africans have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, with those fully immunised accounting for less than 1% of the entire population.

The latest data published by Statistics South Africa in mid-2020 shows that Gauteng has a population of almost 15.5 million people, of which only 3.17% have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

In addition to being behind the national average, the pace of Gauteng's vaccination drive is slower than the rollouts in Limpopo (3.63%) and the Free State (3.58%) which both have a significantly smaller share of vaccination sites. Both provinces combined have less than half the number of active vaccination sites in Gauteng, according to the department of health.

Other provinces which are leading the vaccine rollout in exceeding the national average include the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.

More than 300,000 people in the Western Cape – representing 4.35% of the province's total population – have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. Nearly 500,000 doses – covering 3.97% of the province's population – have been administered in KwaZulu-Natal.

South Africa vaccines
Vaccination statistics provided by the department of health (as at midnight on 15 June). Population estimates by Statistics SA (Mid-year population estimates, 2020). Adult population estimates account for South Africans older than 20-years-old as provided by Statistics South Africa.

Vaccinations in the Eastern Cape, North West, and Northern Cape are moving at a much slower pace. Mpumalanga continues to record the slowest vaccination rate in South Africa, with just 1.61% of the province's population having received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

South Africa hopes to vaccinate 67% of the population – some 40 million people – by the first quarter of 2022 to achieve herd immunity. To achieve this target, South Africa will need to administer more than 100,000 doses every day. The current average rate of daily vaccinations, measured since the rollout first started in February, totals less than 17,000.

Progress has been further delayed by the national drug regulator's decision to abandon some 2 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine following a protracted investigation by the United States' Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA found that ingredients used to produce batches of the vaccine, including some manufactured at Aspen's facility in Gqeberha, had been contaminated.

South Africa is due to receive 300,000 doses of the J&J vaccine, produced with ingredients not implicated in the US contamination scandal, on Friday. These doses will be administered to teachers as part of Phase 2 of the vaccination rollout which continues to prioritise people over the age of 60.

(Compiled by Luke Daniel)

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