With a fourth wave likely before the end of the year, our national target is to vaccinate 70% of adults - with at least one dose - by Christmas. By mid-October we'll be halfway there, which means the pace of vaccination must be massively escalated to avert the 20,000 to 30,000 deaths predicted in this wave.
One of the challenges of rolling out a national vaccination programme in the middle of a pandemic is that some people die within days of getting the jab. Not from the vaccine, but from the virus which had been insidiously incubating at the time of vaccination, resulting in death before the body could mount an adequate immune response.
The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra) has investigated 86 deaths that occurred soon after vaccination up to the end of August 2021, and of the 40 fully investigated by mid-September, 13 had been as a result of Covid-19 infection, while the rest were unrelated to Covid.
We should remember that people continue to die of other natural causes at the rate of about three deaths to every one Covid-death. Nevertheless, my voice of reason becomes a little reedy when a grieving woman tells me...