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Protect yourself from COVID-19 before winter

Written by Allison Cooper

With South Africa’s COVID-19 cases increasing ahead of the predicted fifth wave and cold winter months around the corner, government continues to urge the public to get vaccinated against the virus and stay up to date with their booster shots.

According to Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla, on 25 April South Africa recorded a 137% increase in new COVID-19 cases, compared with the previous seven days, driven mainly by higher rates of infection in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape.

“COVID-19 remains a threat and we cannot afford to drop all prevention measures,” said Minister Phaahla. 

“We again urge all those who are still not vaccinated to come forward and take the jab. We are still under 50% of adults with at least one jab and that’s not good. We urge young adults to come forward. Natural immunity wanes after time and unlike vaccination, it cannot be booked. We urge all those who qualify for boosters to take the opportunity before deep winter,” he added.

The Western Cape Department of Health says local and international data prove that vaccination against COVID-19 remains the best defence against the virus. This is even more so for people who have a compromised immune system.

COVID-19 will not go away anytime soon. To defeat it, we must eradicate it by ensuring that as many people as possible are vaccinated and continue to have their booster shots, the department said.

The fifth wave

Even though COVID-19 cases are increasing and the country is expecting to soon be in the fifth wave, it is not yet known how severe it will be.

“What is still uncertain is that our scientists tell us that a new wave will come through a new variant nicknamed Pi, which will need to be more transmissible and escape immunity. But, at this stage, what is confirmed to be dominant are sub-variants of Omicron called B.4 and B.5,” said Phaahla.

Prevent transmission

You can help prevent the transmission of COVID-19 by ensuring:

  • That your COVID-19 vaccinations (including booster shots) are up to date.
  • That indoor spaces are well ventilated.
  • Wearing a face mask when indoors and in crowded spaces.
  • That you get the flu vaccine.
  • That you know what to do when you have flu-like symptoms.
  • That you wash your hands and sanitise.

For a list of active vaccination sites, visit https://sacoronavirus.co.za/active-vaccination-sites/