COVID: South Africa gives grocery vouchers to elderly who vaccinate


South Africa’s economic hub Gauteng is offering grocery vouchers to people in their 50s who have not yet received covid 19 vaccination as a way of encouraging them to take the jab.

“Are you 50+ and yet to vaccinate? Get vaccinated now and claim your free Rand 200 (about $13.26) grocery voucher. Offer ends soon #IChooseVaccination #VaccinesSaveLives,’’ the Gauteng Department of Health said in an advertisement.

Gauteng, which includes the capital Pretoria and the largest city Johannesburg, accounts for the majority of Covid-19 cases in the country with 32.4% or 1,181,117.

South Africa has the highest number of COVID-19 cases on the continent with over 3.642 million cases representing a 6.9% increase in the positivity rate. The country has recorded 97,250 fatalities to date.

“Due to the ongoing audit exercise by the National Department of Health (NDoH), there may be a backlog of COVID-19 mortality cases reported,’’ the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), a division of the National Health Laboratory Service, said in a statement late Monday.

Africa’s most advanced economy with a population of 60 million has so far administered 31 million vaccine doses, and of these 17.3 million people are fully vaccinated. South Africa has one of the largest vaccinated populations in Africa.

Despite recording high numbers of new COVID cases, South Africa remains on the lowest alert level of its 5-tier system.

Over the 2020-2021 festive season, there was a highly contested ban on alcohol in place and many restrictions on gatherings and hospitality opening hours.

In contrast to that, the findings that Omicron may be less severe than Delta led the government to lift quarantine regulations for infected people.