President Cyril Ramaphosa and Health Minister Zweli Mkhize were among the first citizens to get a shot of the newly procured Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which arrived in the country on Tuesday night.
When the nurse was about to vaccinate his upper left arm, Ramaphosa rolled up the long sleeve of his white shirt and said jokingly: “Can I close my eyes? That’s too quick,” he said after receiving the jab.
President Ramaphosa and Health Minister, Zweli Mkhize, together with health workers at Khayelitsha District Hospital in Western Cape, are among the first South Africans to receive the much-awaited COVID-19 vaccine.
The first batch of 80,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine was distributed to all provinces upon arrival at OR Tambo International Airport.
In a statement on Tuesday, President Ramaphosa said the vaccination centres were expected to be ready the following day [Wednesday]to start the inoculation program.
“Despite the fact that the AstraZeneca vaccine we purchased for this purpose but not ineffective against the 501Y.V2 variant currently dominant in South Africa. We are pleased to start vaccination in mid-February, as we announced,” said President Ramaphosa.
He said Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been proven safe and effective in extensive trials and can protect our health care workers from illness and death caused by COVID-19.