Covid-19 Vaccination Update

We encourage everyone over the age of 12 (read more about vaccinations for children in the next article) to register to get vaccinated using the National Department of Health (NDoH) EVDS site. Thereafter, you can get your vaccination at your nearest active vaccination site registered with the NDoH. See the NMAS Covid Vaccine Portal for more details. 

Covid-19 has devastated the world and in turn South Africa with over 83 419 deaths in the country. While vaccines do not offer 100% protection against future infection, Covid-19 vaccines are effective against preventing severe disease and death from variants of the virus that causes Covid-19 currently circulating, including the Delta variant.

The Delta variant has been identified as having significantly increased transmissibility, i.e., it is more contagious, so it is able to spread much faster. Data from the vaccination programme in the United Kingdom remain encouraging though, demonstrating that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine retains very high levels of protection against severe disease caused by the Delta variant. However, researchers in the UK noted that while infections seem to be growing at a comparable rate between age groups of 12 to 24 and 65 and older, young people are testing positive 5 times more than those aged 65 and older. We encourage everyone young and old to get vaccinated.

Note: Those who do not have a South African ID can use their birth certificate with an ID number to register. As of 1 October 2021, you will be able to register via EVDS without a South African ID number.

Getting your two doses of the Pfizer vaccine has never been this easy

After registering using the NDoH EVDS site, you will be allocated a vaccine date and site for your first dose. Your second dose date will be provided on site and you will receive a confirmation SMS for the date. It is important to keep this date and get your second dose for the vaccine to work effectively and give you maximum protection against severe disease and death. You may experience mild side effects from the vaccine. These may include but not limited to a tender arm, redness on the arm, mild temperature, and headache. These are mild and should only last for 2 to 3 days.

Covid-19 vaccines can safely be given to individuals with a previous history of Covid-19. However, the recommended minimum interval between Covid-19 infection and you receiving a Covid-19 vaccine is 30 days – this applies irrespective of whether you are to receive your first or second vaccine dose.

After being fully vaccinated, you will still need to wear a mask, keep social distancing, wash your hands and take other relevant safety precautions as this will help slow down the epidemic until we have achieved herd immunity.

Cover for vaccine

The Covid-19 vaccine obtained from an accredited vaccination site is covered under the Prescribed Minimum Benefits for registered beneficiaries on all Nedgroup Medical Aid Scheme Plans.

Get informed in order to make the best decision for you and your loved ones

It is absolutely not true that the Covid-19 vaccine can in any way alter your DNA or infect you with Covid-19. Historically vaccines have helped eradicate many diseases and protect us against death. We have seen vaccines reduce the mortality rate of diseases such as measles, polio and smallpox. For more facts on Covid-19, watch the YouTube video from the NDoH for answers to some of the myths that you might have heard, read the article: Breaking Down Covid-19 Topics and Myths on the SA Coronavirus Online Resource & News Portal.

Pause. Breathe. Reflect. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health

Getting vaccinated can help reduce anxiety around the virus by keeping you and your loved ones protected. Being isolated and cooped up indoors can take a toll on the mind and body. Getting vaccinated can help get you back outside and active again.

Vaccines also help protect against developing more severe forms of the disease that may require hospitalisation. This is important, as the risks associated with hospitalisation may extend for a while after discharge from hospital with some experiencing ‘post-intensive care syndrome’ which can last 6 months or longer. Post-intensive care syndrome may include a number of complications, including physical, mental and emotional symptoms that sometimes present in patients surviving prolonged episodes of mechanical ventilation and/or intensive care stay. You can reduce your risks of these harsh complications of Covid-19 by getting vaccinated and avoiding prolonged rehabilitation.

Sources and more reading:

  1. Department of Health Update On Covid-19 (Tuesday 24 August 2021) – SA Corona Virus Online Portal accessed August 25, 2021.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention accessed August 25, 2021.
  3. Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy Youth, Delta variant behind UK COVID surge | CIDRAP (umn.edu) accessed August 25, 2021.
  4. Department of Health MEMO (b-cdn.net) accessed August 25, 2021.
  5. NCID published April 14, 2021 and accessed September 3, 2021.
  6. Department of Health #ListenToTheExperts – Are There Side Effects To The Covid-19 Vaccine Prof Barry Schoub – SA Corona Virus Online Portal accessed August 25, 2021.
  7. World Health Organisation accessed August 25, 2021.
  8. Department of Health accessed September 2, 2021.

MORE ABOUT COVID-19 VACCINATIONS FOR CHILDREN

Research has shown that COVID-19 vaccines are safe. Over 20 000 000 vaccines have been safely administered to people 18 years and older, with minimal side effects. COVID-19 vaccines protect you from severe disease and/or hospitalisation. While teenagers are less vulnerable to developing severe COVID-19 disease requiring hospitalisation in comparison with adults, younger people do contract the virus and are able to transmit it to others. In South Africa, almost 12% of COVID-19 cases are in children younger than 19 – this age group accounts for around 1 in 20 hospital admissions in the country, August data from the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) shows. At the same time, less than 1% of in-hospital deaths are among children.

As of Wednesday, 20 October 2021 teenagers from 12 to 17 years old were eligible to receive one dose of the Pfizer vaccine. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is only approved by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) for those aged 18 years and older, so it will not be included in the rollout programme for youngsters. Matric students will be prioritised to minimise disruption to their exam schedule that started on 27 October 2021. The single dose of Pfizer vaccine will be provided at public and private national vaccination programme sites. Teenagers account for 11% of the South African population and an official in-school vaccine rollout programme is expected to start in the 2022 academic year.

Sources and more reading:

  1. SA COVID-19 Online Resource & News Portal Latest Vaccine Statistics – SA Corona Virus Online Portal accessed 18 October 2021.
  2. News24 SA teens are in line to be vaccinated: What you need to know | Health24 (news24.com) accessed 20 October 2021.
  3. SA COVID-19 Online Resource & News Portal COVID-19 Vaccination Programme Communication Priorities – 18 To 24 October – SA Corona Virus Online Portal accessed 19 October 2021.
  4. News24 SA teens are in line to be vaccinated: What you need to know | Health24 (news24.com) accessed 20 October 2021.
  5. SA COVID-19 Online Resource & News Portal Circular: Changes To Vaccine Roll-out Eligibility Criteria And Vaccination Schedules (15 October 2021) – SA Corona Virus Online Portal accessed 19 October 2021.
  6. News24 SA teens are in line to be vaccinated: What you need to know | Health24 (news24.com) accessed October 20, 2021.