President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa has been administered with the COVID-19 vaccine jab, as the country kick-off vaccination on Wednesday with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
President Cyril Ramaphosa had on Wednesday, shared a photo of himself being administered with the vaccine on his official Twitter handle, becoming one of the first people in his country to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.
He was also joined by the country’s Health Minister, Zweli Mkhize who said that it was to demonstrate their confidence in the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
President Cyril Ramaphosa was broadcast live getting the shot at a district hospital in Khayelitsha, a poor Cape Town township, as part of the government’s campaign to convince its 60 million people that the J&J vaccine is safe.
Ramaphosa took off his suit jacket and rolled up his left sleeve for the jab.
“Can I close my eyes?” he joked as he was injected.
Observers applauded after the shot was administered.
A nurse was announced as the first person in South Africa to receive a COVID-19 vaccine when she was injected at the hospital shortly before President Ramaphosa.
South Africa is by far the worst-affected country in Africa in terms of coronavirus caseload, with nearly 1.5 million reported infections including more than 48,000 deaths, representing 41% of all the cases reported by the continent’s 54 countries.
Its first batch of 80,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine arrived late Tuesday night after the country decided to switch from the AstraZeneca vaccine at the last moment.
A small study had showed that AstraZeneca was not as effective as hoped against the coronavirus variant that is now dominant in South Africa.
South Africa has set up 20 vaccination centers in its nine provinces, with 164 vaccinators inoculating approximately 48 people per day, according to authorities.
The country had planned to vaccinate at least 67% of the population, about 40 million people, by the end of 2021 but that initial plan might now be under pressure because of the late switch from AstraZeneca to J&J.