Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) indicated that a new COVID-19 variant (XBB.1.5) may be the most transmissible variant to date. This has been further supported by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) stating that this variant could become the most dominant strain in South Africa after having been detected in December 2022.
Despite its velocity, according to health authorities there is no evidence as yet that this new COVID-19 variant will cause more severe disease.
As we work to protect residents, the City’s vaccinations are included as part of the routine primary healthcare service package at health facilities. Workplace vaccination is continuing and remains open to companies with more than 50 employees which can request on-site vaccination services.
In terms of vaccination at schools, COVID-19 vaccination plans are continuing, with 63,8% of schools in Tshwane (467 schools) having been visited in 2022. Some public schools (107) and independent schools (158) are still to be scheduled for vaccination, dependent on school programmes and parental signed consent.
Community development workers from the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs are also assisting with community-based communication and vaccination registration during ward-based activities.
As the City of Tshwane Health Department, we encourage vaccination and boosters as recommended by the National Department of Health. Vaccines and boosters have been shown to reduce the risk of severe disease, hospitalisation and death.