In a historic moment for South Africa, President Cyril Ramaphosa has received his COVID-19 jab.
The country’s first citizen is with of a group of health workers being vaccinated at the Khayelitsha District Hospital in Cape Town on Wednesday.
A glass cubical in Khayelitsha District Hospital’s Trauma unit is where the first round of vaccines was administered.
Nurse Zoliswa Gidi-Dyosi became the first citizen to receive the Johnson & Johnson jab, kicking off the largest vaccination drive in the country’s history; some of her colleagues also received their jabs and then it was the president’s turn.
He appeared in good spirits and joked with staff as he received the injection.
Ramaphosa addressed the media after his vaccination: “I’ve just had my vaccination and I must say that at first, I was a bit terrified of this long needle that was going to be embedded into my arm. It happened so quickly, so easily. It was just a prick on my flesh and I really did not feel much pain.”
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has also received his jab.
The first 80,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine have been dispatched to 17 sites across the country as part of an implementation study starting on Wednesday.
They arrived at the OR Tambo International Airport on Tuesday night.
Because the vaccine has been studied in South Africa, the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority approved an extension of the study that will allow healthcare workers to be vaccinated before the vaccine is officially licenced.
As those first doses are part of the study, the South African taxpayer won’t be footing the bill.
However, the nine million doses of that vaccine secured by government will be paid for by the fiscus.
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