President Ramaphosa Gets Vaccinated as South Africa Begins COVID-19 Vaccine Roll-out

South Africa on Wednesday began a rollout of the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine with President Cyril Ramaphosa receiving his jab on national television.

Ramaphosa was injected with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in Khayelitsha District Hospital in Cape Town.

Zweli Mkhize, South Africa’s Ministry of Health, and other healthcare workers were also vaccinated with the first batch of 80,000 of the Johnson & Johnson doses which arrived in the country on Tuesday evening.

Ramaphosa said he wanted to allay any fears that people might have about the injection.

The Johnson vaccine would be able to treat patients with the 501Y.V2 variant which has become dominant in a number of provinces.

Mkhize said the AstraZeneca vaccine which arrived in January would be offered to the African Union (AU) due to its limited efficacy against the dominant variant.

He said South Africa would receive 9 million doses from Johnson & Johnson in total.

“This day represents a real milestone for us as South Africans, that finally the vaccines are here, and they are being administered,” Ramaphosa said after vaccination.

“And I was rather pleased that there were five people who were vaccinated before me, and they are health workers, and it was a joy to watch them to see whether anything had happened to them, and gladly nothing had happened to them.

“And it means that being vaccinated is a fairly straightforward process.”

Africa’s worst-hit country had been due to start its vaccine rollout last week but it was delayed because of concerns over the effectiveness of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which it had intended to use, against a fast-spreading coronavirus variant discovered in South Africa in November.

As the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is single-dose shot it is also considerably easier to administer.

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