Consulting a medical practitioner is advised for vaccine hesitant

Posted on 26 October 2021

As we near the end of 2021, many feel they can breathe a sigh of relief, but clinicians across the country are warning the community not to drop their guard against the potential fourth wave.

According to Dr Gerrit de Villiers, Chief Clinical Officer of Mediclinic Southern Africa, “We can see the progress being made with the roll out of vaccinations, and during the third wave, there was clear evidence that the COVID-19 vaccine was protecting those members of the community who already had access to the vaccine.”

According to the Western Cape Head of Health Dr Keith Cloete, “A review of the impact of the third wave compared to previous waves indicated that over a 12-week period during the third wave, people aged 50 years and older accounted for 30% of cases, 60% of hospital admissions and 83% of deaths.” What is significant, according to Cloete, is that the department noticed a drop in cases and hospital admissions in the older age groups, who were vaccinated first.

Mediclinic previously confirmed that their figures were reflecting the trends released regarding Groote Schuur ICU and High Care admissions. Groote Schuur representatives highlighted the minimal presence of vaccinated individuals in their ICU in comparison to unvaccinated patients, clearly demonstrating the diminished risk of severe infection once fully vaccinated.

According to Dr De Villiers, age is the highest risk factor for developing severe COVID-19 infection or dying from the illness, and focusing on those aged 50 and older for vaccination could reduce the impact of a fourth wave of infections. According to health officials, the fourth wave is expected later this year, possibly between November 2021 and January 2022. “Many of us are planning to celebrate during the festive season, bringing friends and family into our homes. We can act now to protect those we will engage with. This is a simple and practical way to make our holidays safe and avoid regret.”

In a message to the community who have not yet taken up the vaccine, Dr De Villiers emphasises, “If you are unsure, or anxious, please speak to your GP or specialist. We want to help you make an informed choice, by providing you with the facts that you need to address any concerns you may have,” he said.

In addressing other portions of the community that are at risk during a COVID-19 infection, Dr De Villiers explains, “Pregnant women at greater risk of serious illness. “There is now very strong data demonstrating that if you’re pregnant and you get COVID-19, your chance of serious illness or dying is sharply increased.” He goes on to explain that the vaccination may have temporary side effects such as dizziness, headache or a sore arm, but that these are generally pass in 2-3 days, while the boosting of your immune system offers greater long term protection. “If you are expecting or planning a family, please speak to your GP or obstetrician, and let your doctor give you the information you need to make an informed decision.”

Addressing the extension of vaccination to the 12 – 17 age group, Dr De Villiers references the recent analysis by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), indicating that the Pfizer vaccine was 93% effective against hospitalisation with COVID-19 after a two dose regime in children aged 12 to 18. “We want to keep patients out of hospital, we want children to resume their normal daily lives with a greater level of protection. This is what the vaccine offers.”

For anyone seeking a COVID-19 vaccine, Mediclinic offers a convenient booking platform, to make an appointment at any of the Mediclinic vaccination centres, allowing the individual to choose a time and date convenient to them. We encourage you to act today, for a healthier future.

Published in Covid-19

In the interest of our patients, in accordance with SA law and our commitment to expertise, Mediclinic cannot subscribe to the practice of online diagnosis. Please consult a medical professional for specific medical advice. If you have any major concerns, please see your doctor for an assessment. If you have any cause for concern, your GP will be able to direct you to the appropriate specialists.