Coronavirus in South Africa Photograph:( AFP )
This comes just a few days after President Cyril Ramaphosa warned that the country is preparing its hospitals for additional admissions
As South Africa continues to battle with growing cases of deadly coronavirus, a health official has revealed that the country will be rolling out Pfizer booster shots starting from next month. "The first people who will qualify for the booster dose in South Africa will be people over the age of 60 years," Dr Nicolas Crisp, director general at the health ministry, said during a weekly conference.
Several health practitioners had already started being offered the Johnson & Johnson booster shots.
This comes just a few days after President Cyril Ramaphosa warned that the country is preparing its hospitals for additional admissions as the newly emerged Omicron variant has pushed the country into the fourth wave of infections. He further added that daily infections have increased five-fold in the past week. Two weeks ago, only two per cent of tests were positive.
Ramaphosa, who called the increase in infections a "grave concern."
"While the surge in infections is of great concern, we should remember that we anticipated it. Disease modellers in our country have told us that we would likely experience a fourth wave around this time and that it was almost inevitable that new variants of the virus would emerge, " Ramaphosa said in his weekly newsletter.
Health Minister Joe Phaahla recently revealed that the new Omicron variant account for 70 per cent of new infections in South Africa. He further revealed that the hospitalised patients are so far showing mild symptoms.
Scientists all across the globe are still working to determine the efficacy of the existing vaccine against the Omicron variant. The transmissibility of this variant is said to be lower than any other previously existing variant.
(With inputs from agencies)