South Africa received its first delivery of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine at O R Tambo International Airport in Gauteng late on Tuesday.
“The vaccine has been approved by the South African Health Products Authority. The consignment will be moved to a secure facility in Gauteng before being distributed overnight to the various vaccine centres in all provinces,” Presidency spokesperson Phumla William said.
Due to the logistical purposes around the arrival of the vaccines, no media access was granted, Williams said.
The batch of 80 000 J&J shots will kickstart South Africa’s vaccination rollout which was paused after preliminary trial data showed that the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine, which the country received earlier this month, offered minimal protection against mild to moderate illness from the coronavirus variant dominant in SA.
The government has been consulting scientists about what to do with the 1 million AstraZeneca vaccine doses received from received at the start of the month from the Serum Institute of India, switching to a plan to start inoculating healthcare workers with J&J’s alternative in a research study.
Up to 500,000 health workers could be immunized in total in the study.
The South African Medical Association (SAMA) had previously said if the first shots from J&J arrived on Tuesday, then vaccinations could start on Wednesday.
SAMA chairwoman Angelique Coetzee said vaccinations would happen at hospitals in each of the country’s nine provinces. Roughly two-thirds of the doses would go to public-sector health workers, and one-third to those in the private sector.
J&J’s vaccine is administered in a single shot, an advantage given how complex a logistical exercise the mass vaccination campaign will be.
The 17 vaccination centres identified for the rollout are:
- Eastern Cape: Livingstone hospital in Port Elizabeth and Nelson Mandela Academic hospital in Mthatha.
- Free State: Pelonomi Hospital in Bloemfontein and Universitas Hospital in Bloemfontein.
- Gauteng: Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto and Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria.
- KwaZulu-Natal: Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital in Durban and Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital in Umlazi.
- Limpopo: Pietersburg Hospital in Polokwane and Mankweng Hospital in Polokwane.
- Mpumalanga: Rob Ferreira Hospital in Nelspruit and Witbank Hospital in eMalahleni.
- North West: Job Shimankana Tabane Hospital in Rustenburg and Klerksdorp/Tshepong Hospital in Klerksdorp.
- Northern Cape: Robert Sobukwe Hospital in Kimberley.
- Western Cape: Groote Schuur Hospital and Tygerberg Hospital, both in Cape Town.
Coetzee said “We are also pleased to announce that during this first vaccination, the general practitioners have been allocated the next two Sundays between 10 am and 8 pm a slot to be vaccinated because they are frontline workers.
“But the other days it will be the public sectors and nurse and also frontline workers that will be vaccinated. The South African Medical Research Council is expected to handle the vaccination processes.“
According to Professor Linda-Gail Bekker, deputy director of the UCT’s Desmond Tutu HIV Centre and an infectious diseases specialist, SA has to administer all 80 000 Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 doses before it can receive more vaccines.
Bekker, who is the national coordinator of the rollout for health care workers, said if SA administers the doses, a further 200 000 more doses has been promised.
In other news – Shauwn Mkhize’s son Andile spoils girlfriend Sithelo with expensive gifts on Valentine’s Day – Photo
Love truly lives here. Valentine’s Day came and went, but we are still gushing over what our favorite celebs got on this special day.
The day is all about romantic gestures and lovebirds usually celebrate it by exchanging pricey gifts, taking some much-needed break somewhere remote and romantic, and by going out to treat themselves. Andile Mpisane is one of our faves who also went all out for his baby mama Sithelo Shozi on, as he decided to spoil her with a stunning timepiece. Learn More