South Africa’s coronavirus pandemic would not end when the country kicks off its vaccination campaign mid-next year, a local scientist warned on Thursday.Barry Schoub, who heads South Africa’s Ministerial Advisory Committee on Coronavirus Vaccine Development, issued the warning following civil society criticism that the country was taking too long to acquire Covid-19 vaccines for the country.
Schoub cautioned compatriots that vaccines were “not an immediate miracle cure” for ending the spreading of the virus in the Rainbow Nation.
“Once the vaccine arrives on our doorsteps, that’s not the end. It’s is not going to switch off the epidemic automatically,” the official said.
He said the first tranches of vaccine injections are expected to go to protect healthcare workers first.
“Due to this, there will almost be no effect on the rest of the population. It’s going to take months and months before we try and achieve herd immunity,” Schoub said.
As the country continued to experience its current second wave of rising infections, exacerbated by a new variant of the virus, South Africans should continue to adhere to the public health protocols to stop the disease, he said.
This was because the much-anticipated vaccines would only be available in South Africa during the second quarter of next year, he added.
South Africa is set to receive initial vaccines from the UN World Health Organisation’s COVAX facility to cover 10 percent of its population in mid-next year.