For Creamer Media in Johannesburg, I’m Sane Dhlamini.
Making headlines: South African health authority approves Pfizer booster dose; State of disaster extended again; And, Cabinet not jumping the gun on lockdown and vaccine mandate yet
South African health authority approves Pfizer booster dose
The South African Health Products Authority has approved a third booster dose for South Africans following the outbreak of the Omicron Covid-19 variant.
This follows concerns at early evidence suggesting that the Omicron has a higher re-infection risk.
Health Products Authority CEO Dr Boitumelo Semete said the approval follows the application the organisation received in from Pfizer to amend the dosing schedule for its Covid-19 vaccine, allowing an optional third dose, or booster.
The Health Authority has approved a third dose of the Covid-19 vaccine for individuals aged 18 years and older, to be administered at least 6 months after the second dose.
State of disaster extended again
The government has again extended the state of disaster, which was set to expire on 15 December. by another month.
Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele said Cabinet has now decided to extend the national state of disaster by a further month to 15 January.
This comes while no decision has yet been taken by government on imposing a vaccine mandate.
The decision would make it the 22nd month under the state of disaster since it was initially declared at the end of March 2020.
And, Cabinet not jumping the gun on lockdown and vaccine mandate yet
Meanwhile, Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele said while cases of Covid-19 were rising in South Africa, Cabinet did not conclude that the public healthcare system was in enough danger to warrant an immediate decision on lockdown adjustments.
Gungubele said while Cabinet continued to urge people to social distance, wear a mask in public and wash their hands regularly, it would be up to President Cyril Ramaphosa to decide on lockdown adjustments following a meeting with the National Coronavirus Command Council.
The Cabinet meeting and subsequent post-Cabinet briefing come in a week when South Africans expect government to either tighten lockdown restrictions or introduce incentives for vaccines and restrictions from public gatherings for the unvaccinated in response to the omicron variant.
Even the National Economic Development and Labour Council resolved to recommend government limit access to public gatherings and events to vaccinated people and look into mandating vaccines at the workplace as cases rise.
That’s a roundup of news making headlines today
Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter [@Polity ZA]