South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday received the COVID-19 vaccine at the Khayelitsha Hospital in Cape Town, officially marking the start of the country’s vaccination program.
He later announced that most vaccination centres in the country will be ready starting on Wednesday to begin vaccination program.
— Cyril Ramaphosa 🇿🇦 #StaySafe (@CyrilRamaphosa) February 17, 2021
The vaccine he received is from Johnson & Johnson of which South Africa received at the OR Tambo International airport.
South Africa received 80,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
The government halted its earlier vaccination plans after doubts emerged over the AstraZeneca vaccine’s efficacy against the variant in the country.
The Johnson vaccine is reportedly able to treat patients with the 501Y.V2 variant which has become dominant in a number of provinces.
The president received the jab alongside Health Minister Zweli Mkhize and healthcare workers who were also vaccinated against COVID-19 at the same hospital.
Dr. Mkhize said the AstraZeneca vaccine which arrived in January would be offered to the African Union (AU) due to its limited efficacy against the dominant variant.
Early reports show that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is the only one that requires just one shot, making it considerably easier to administer.
The Health Minister said South Africa would receive nine million of doses from Johnson & Johnson in total.
500,000 doses of the vaccine are set to arrive in March.