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South Africa begins COVID-19 vaccination as President Ramaphosa gets jab


South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa has received a coronavirus vaccine as the country begins the rollout of Johnson & Johnson jabs.

He was injected in front of the cameras in Khayelitsha District Hospital in Cape Town.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize and other healthcare workers were also vaccinated with first batch of 80,000 of the Johnson & Johnson doses which arrived in the country on Tuesday evening.

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Mr Ramaphosa said he wanted to allay any fears that people might have about the injection.

“This day represents a real milestone for us as South Africans, that finally the vaccines are here, and they are being administered,” the News24 website quotes him as saying after his injection.

“And I was rather pleased that there were five people who were vaccinated before me, and they are health workers, and it was a joy to watch them to see whether anything had happened to them, and gladly nothing had happened to them.

“And it means that being vaccinated is a fairly straightforward process.”

Africa’s worst-hit country had been due to start its vaccine rollout last week but it was delayed because of concerns over the effectiveness of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which it had intended to use, against a fast-spreading coronavirus variant discovered in South Africa in November.

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As the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is single-dose shot it is also considerably easier to administer.