“It was just a prick, I dId not feel much pain. This is an important milestone because finally the vaccines are here.”
Johannesburg – President Cyril Ramaphosa publicly took a vaccine jab at the Khayelitsha Hospital on Wednesday, saying he did not feel pain afterwards.
Five healthcare workers took their vaccine jabs before Ramaphosa on Wednesday, with Cape Town nurse Zoliswa Gidi-Dyosi becoming the first healthcare worker to get vaccinated for the coronavirus in South Africa.
On Tuesday night, 80 000 Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses arrived from the US at OR Tambo International before they were flown around the country to different vaccination centres.
Ramaphosa, who signalled with a slight grimace and a thumbs up after taking his vaccination jab, spoke briefly afterwards.
“It was just a prick, I dId not feel much pain. This is an important milestone because finally the vaccines are here.
“Five people were vaccinated before me, it was a joy to see that nothing had happened to them, it was straight forward.
“I want to invite South Africans to take this up and thank Minister Zweli Mkhize for working so hard, he has had many sleepless nights,” said Ramaphosa.
Ramaphosa also thanked health workers for their efforts during the coronavirus pandemic and said he hoped the mass vaccination programme that the country is about to undergo would be flawless.
“To the doomsayers, who are predicting total mayhem and disaster, let’s have faith in our system and in our health workers and let them do what they do best.
“We will continue to give them the support and all the assistance that we are able to,” said the president.
South Africa is kicking off its vaccination programme with Johnson & Johnson vaccines after it took a decision to put AstraZeneca vaccines on hold last week.
South Africa had procured one million doses which arrived in January, but a study raised concerns about the efficacy of the AstraZeneca vaccine dealing with the 501Y.V2 variant, which has become the dominant Covid-19 variant in South Africa since December.
In the next four weeks, South Africa is expected to receive 500 000 more Johnson & Johnson doses.
South Africa has secured nine million Johnson & Johnson doses, 12 million vaccine doses from the Covax facility, 20 million doses from Pfizer and an undisclosed number of doses through the AU’s African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team facility.