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Your Covid-19 questions answered

Has government made a decision on mandatory vaccinations?

Health minister Joe Phaahla says government is aiming to vaccinate 70% of the population to achieve herd immunity. File photo.
Health minister Joe Phaahla says government is aiming to vaccinate 70% of the population to achieve herd immunity. File photo.
Image: Freddy Mavunda

Health minister Joe Phaahla said announcements regarding mandatory vaccinations will be made in due time as the government is deliberating the matter. 

The minister said though there was a decline in hospitalisation, deaths related to Covid-19 and daily infections, the department hoped vaccination uptake would increase during the festive season, but this was not the case. 

He said government was aiming to vaccinate 70% of the population to achieve what herd immunity.

“Our target is informed by population immunity, or herd immunity, which has to be coverage of between 67% to 70%. That remains our target in terms of adult population coverage. That is why, when you look at the supply of vaccines and capacity for which we vaccinate from the sites to the personnel, we could have reached 70% in December,” said the minister. 

He said government had fallen short in convincing the masses to get vaccinated.

“To date 40% of the population is fully vaccinated. We are short by 30%, not because we didn't have the capacity, but because we were lacking in terms of the messaging, reaching people and convincing everybody eligible to come forward,” he said. 

Phaahla cautioned the decline must not be the reason people are complacent as the Omicron variant dominant in the fourth wave remained.

Notwithstanding the reduced severity overall, the Omicron variant is very deadly, especially for people of advanced age, people with comorbidities and the unvaccinated,” said Phaahla. 

The minister said it was in the hands of South Africans to free the country from the “clutches” of the pandemic. 


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