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Politicians may take vaccine jab first to reassure the public – Health department

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As the first batch of the Covid-19 vaccine is set to arrive in the country, Dr Anban Pillay said there has been a recommendation that political leadership get vaccinated first to reassure the public.

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PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa and his Cabinet might be first in line to receive the Covid-19 vaccine jab.

As the first batch of the Covid-19 vaccine is set to arrive in the country on Monday, deputy director-general of health Dr Anban Pillay, who has been directly involved in the vaccine procurement drive, said there’s been a recommendation political leadership get vaccinated first to reassure the public.

Pillay, speaking during an interview on SABC’s MorningLive, said “Before healthcare workers receive the vaccine many may want to get the assurance that leadership has brought a vaccine that is effective and safe. So there’s been recommendations that they take the vaccine publicly.

“We certainly would want our leaders to vaccinate publicly so that everybody has confidence that this vaccine is effective and safe as well and we would encourage that. I think that when our leaders vaccinate publicly it sends a very strong message.”

Deputy director-general of health Dr Anban Pillay. Picture Supplied

As per government vaccine roll-out strategy, ministers, members of Parliament, politicians, national and councillors fall under the essential workers category, which will be targeted in the second phase.

The vaccine doses, from pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca manufactured in India, through the Serum Institute of India, left the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Mumbai on Sunday, bound for OR Tambo International Airport.

This will be the country’s first phase of vaccine roll out and will be focused on getting the country’s 1.5 million healthcare workers vaccinated. The next two phases will focus on other essential workers and the broader population.

Authorities aim to vaccinate 40 million South Africans by the end of 2021, or 65 percent of the population of almost 60 million.