Atop a Johannesburg parking garage, a vaccination center is working since May, when it barely shoots 200 doses per day. Later, when in the first week of July, it reached 1,000 a day, and last week it was jabbing 2,000 daily, according to workers at the busy site.
Besides fitting the vaccination campaign, South Africa resumed tight restrictions, including shutting restaurants and bars and limiting alcohol sales in an attempt to tackle the new surge.
However, new infections rose to record levels in recent days and reached 360 fatalities per day on July 9, doubling the deaths toll in the last 15 days, which many people charge to the missteps and delays of the early stages of the vaccination campaign.
The country accounts for over 35 percent of the 5.8 million COVID-19 cases reported in the continent so far, even when it only homes little more than 4 percent of the continent's population.
“Our vaccination campaign is gathering momentum, but obviously it's too late to do much in terms of reducing the impact of this current resurgence we’re experiencing, which by all accounts is going to completely dwarf what we experienced either in the first or second waves in South Africa,” said Shabir Madhi, dean of health sciences and professor of vaccinology at the University of Witwatersrand.
So far, healthcare workers had shot over 4.2 million COVID-19 vaccines, but only 1.3 million people are fully vaccinated.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization’s regional director for Africa Dr. Matshidiso Moeti has stated that the peak of this wave is weeks away since cases are doubling now every 18 days, compared with every 21 days only a week ago.