Covid-19 vaccine rollout starts: Ramaphosa, Mkhize get first jab in Khayelitsha

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President Cyril Ramaphosa gets a Covid-19 vaccine jab at Khayelitsha District Hospital in Cape Town.
President Cyril Ramaphosa gets a Covid-19 vaccine jab at Khayelitsha District Hospital in Cape Town.
GCIS
  • Late on Tuesday evening, the first batch of 80 000 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccines arrived at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.
  • Health Minister Zweli Mkhize told Parliament during the first day of the State of the Nation Address (SONA) debate the country would have enough vaccines.
  • President Cyril Ramaphosa and Mkhize joined healthcare workers in Khayelitsha in being the first to be vaccinated locally.

President Cyril Ramaphosa and Health Minister Zweli Mkhize joined healthcare workers at the Khayelitsha District Hospital on Wednesday in being the first to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccines that will be rolled out across the country.

An entire brigade of national government dignitaries descended on the hospital to witness the occasion.

ROLLING COVERAGE | Covid-19 vaccine rollout begins in SA

Ramaphosa said he was a tad "terrified" because of the long needle but described the event as huge milestone for the country.

"It was just a prick on my flesh and I didn't feel much pain. This day represents a huge milestone for us as South Africans. Finally, the vaccines are here and are being administered. I was very pleased to see five health workers. I'd like to invite South Africans to take this up."

READ | SA becomes first country to use J&J vaccine

Late on Tuesday evening, the first batch of 80 000 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccines arrived at OR Tambo International airport.

Ramaphosa said it was a joy to get Mkhize's text message on Tuesday night informing him of the plane's arrival.

The vaccine will be dispatched to 17 sites across the country as part of an implementation study, starting on Wednesday.

mkhize,zweli mkhize,vaccine,coronavirus
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize receives a vaccine jab at Khayelitsha District Hospital in Cape Town.

The vaccine has been studied in the country and the SA Health Products Regulatory Authority approved an extension of the study that will allow health workers to be vaccinated before being licenced.

Enough

Mkhize told Parliament during the first day of the State of the Nation Address (SONA) debate the country would have enough vaccines.

This after further data analysis on the AstraZeneca vaccine had found it was less effective on mild and moderate Covid-19 501Y.V2 infection.

READ MORE | Covid-19: Latest batch of vaccines set to go directly to EC as health minister says SA may have enough

Western Cape Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo said: "It's exciting because this is the day we have been waiting for, the vaccine rollout has been happening globally and Africa is way behind. I will not be vaccinated for now."

She added the number of vaccines they would be receiving was "a drop in the ocean".

Mkhize said: "We will announce further number of vaccines when we are finished with negotiations, but the way I see it we have enough doses to cover all South Africans. We will only be able to provide further details once the negotiations are wrapped up."

Johnson & Johnson tested its vaccine in eight countries, among them the US, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia  and Mexico.

According to studies  the jab was 85% effective in preventing severe disease in people who were 18 years and older in all the countries that were studied. 

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