- President Cyril Ramaphosa has acknowledged that the first batch of new Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccines has landed in SA
- The first batch of 80 000 doses is being distributed around SA with immediate effect
- Both Ramaphosa and Minister Mkhize are set to take the vaccine, along with healthcare workers
President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that the first batch of Johnson & Johnson vaccines has arrived in South Africa.
The distribution of the vaccines is set to kick off with immediate effect, with Ramaphosa commenting that:
"As this batch has already been approved by the SA Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) under the Sisonke protocol, these vaccines will be rapidly dispatched to all provinces. It is expected that most vaccination centres will be ready from today, 17 February 2021, to begin the vaccination programme."
Ramaphosa says that the government is pleased to be able to begin vaccination by mid-February as promised. This comes despite the AstraZeneca vaccine proving inefficient against the 501Y.V2 variant that is dominant in SA at the moment.
The President congratulated all the officials involved in ensuring the nation's response to the situation was a swift one:
"I would like to congratulate the Vaccine Inter-Ministerial Committee, the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Vaccines, Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize and his team, and the Medical Research Council for responding so rapidly and effectively to this challenge."
Ramaphosa says that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been proven safe and efficacious in extensive trials.
The President further announced that both himself and Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize will be receiving the vaccine on Wednesday:
"To demonstrate our confidence in this vaccine and help allay any fears that people may have, the Minister of Health and I will join the first health care workers to receive the vaccine in Khayelitsha."
Ramaphosa further called upon the leaders in South Africa to get inoculated publically:
"We have called on leaders in various sectors and parts of the country to lead by example and get inoculated publicly. We will therefore witness some Premiers, MECs and leaders from civil society, religious formations and traditional leadership being vaccinated in all provinces."
Earlier, Briefly.co.za reported that the first batch of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccines arrived at OR Tambo International Airport on Tuesday evening.
The consignment was subsequently moved to a secure facility in Gauteng before being distributed to vaccine centres across South Africa, according to the government.
The first Covid-19 vaccination to be administered is expected to be given to a healthcare worker on Wednesday afternoon.
Enjoyed reading our story? Download BRIEFLY's news app on Google Play now and stay up-to-date with major South African news!