Over 20 million people in South Africa jabbed

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A medical worker administers a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to a recipient in Sale, Morocco, on Aug. 26, 2021. The total number of people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in Morocco reached 14,068,939, the Moroccan Ministry of Health said on Thursday. /Xinhua

South Africa has reached the milestone of 20 million people who have received coronavirus vaccines, with  another 154,000 people added to the tally of those fully vaccinated.

SABC’s vaccination pop-up site, in Johannesburg, South Africa, on August 27, 2021. Gauteng provincial government have partnered up with the SABC’s Auckland Park headquarters to reach as many people as possible to vaccinate against the virus. /Getty Images

That makes for some 35 percent of the adult population at least partially vaccinated.

In the 60+ age group, more than 60 percent of people have been vaccinated. Among those between 50 and 60 years old, more than 50 percent have been vaccinated.

Between the ages of 35 and 49, the proportion is more than 40 percent – for women. Among men of that age, the proportion drops to a little over 35 percent. But young adults, those up to 34, drag the average down, with only 23 percent of women and less than 17 percent of men in that bracket having been vaccinated.

South Africa also has 10.7 million people considered fully vaccinated – under the current regime, where a single dose of J&J counts.

On Friday, the United States moved towards treating J&J as a two-dose vaccine, on the back of data showing its efficacy shoots up after a booster shot. In South Africa, some 4.6 million people have received a single dose of the J&J vaccine. If the definition of fully vaccinated were to change to exclude them until they receive another dose, it would set things back by roughly a month, at the current rate of vaccination.

It is expected that around 6.5 million people will be added to the country’s tally when vaccinations for children between 12 and 17 will kick off next week.

At a little under 27 percent of the adult population fully vaccinated, South Africa is tracking well behind a global average of around 37 percent.

The world as a whole has now administered more than 6.6 billion doses, and the totals for people who have received at least one dose of a vaccine, and those considered fully vaccinated, are on track to hit 40 percent and 50 percent, respectively, soon.

Around 30 countries have reached or exceeded the herd immunity target South Africa has set for itself, of being two-thirds fully vaccinated, before the end of the year.

That includes the rich nations of Europe, and small island states such as the Maldives. But also in that group is countries South Africa may consider closer to being comparable, such as Chile, Uruguay, and Malaysia.

On the continent, Morocco counts more than half its population fully vaccinated, and Tunisia is above a third. Beyond those, and Zimbabwe, which is tracking close to South Africa’s level of vaccination, things go from bad to worse.

Many countries are still officially at below 1 percent fully vaccinated, something that is exceedingly rare elsewhere on the planet outside of disaster zones such as Yemen and Haiti.

(With input from agencies)

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