FULL COVERAGE | Finally! SA sees historic day as Covid-19 vaccines are rolled out
It was a historic day in South Africa as the first round of vaccine shots got underway. A large consignment of vaccines from pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson arrived at OR Tambo Airport late on Tuesday night.
President Cyril Ramaphosa and Health Minister Zweli Mkhize became the first high-profile citizens to take the jab during a visit to the Khayelitsha District Hospital in Cape Town. Ramaphosa labelled the beginning of the vaccine rollout as a “milestone” in the country’s Covid-19 fight.
A total of 80 000 doses of the J&J vaccine has arrived. A further 500 000 doses is expected in a few weeks, while 20 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine is expected at the end of March.
Here’s a recap of how it went down:
A plane carrying J&J vaccines arrived at OR Tambo International Airport late on Tuesday night. The consignment was then moved to a facility in Gauteng and was distributed to provinces overnight.
Ramaphosa and Mkhize took the jab at a Cape Town hospital. The president encouraged the public to be open to the vaccine. The vaccine will be dispatched to 17 sites across the country.
The Eastern Cape also welcomed its first batch of vaccines at sites in Mthatha and Port Elizabeth. The vaccine was administered to 40 healthcare workers at Bara hospital in Johannesburg. Healthcare workers said they were relieved that the day finally arrived. The vaccine has also been delivered to a site in Pretoria.
Amid the rollout of the J&J vaccine, experts told us that the government should consider distributing the AstraZeneca vaccine which the country originally procured but decided not to use. Those vaccines will be shared with other African countries.
Meanwhile, Fin24 reports that new statistics suggest that trade took a knock in December and January because of lockdown regulations tightening as a second wave of Covid-19 hit. A survey said that 66% of traders experienced worse trade conditions this January than January 2020.
Looking abroad, researchers in the UK will be deliberately infecting a selection of volunteers with the Covid-19 virus as part of a new study. Some 90 volunteers aged between 18 and 30 will be exposed to the virus.
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– Kerushun Pillay
Pictured: Zoliswa Gidi-Dyosi, a nurse, was the first person to receive a vaccine shot, at Khayelitsha District Hospital, Cape Town. (GCIS)