Meet Milanie Bennett, the nurse who administered SA’s first Covid-19 jab

By Rudolph Nkgadima Time of article published Feb 17, 2021

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CAPE TOWN - Khayelitsha nurse Milanie Bennett’s name will go down in the history books as the first person in South Africa to have administered the Johnson & Johnson vaccine outside of clinical trials.

Bennett, who has been a nurse for 25 years, administered the jab to President Cyril Ramaphosa and Health Minister Zweli Mkhize.

Speaking to IOL, she said she felt “very proud and honoured” to have been the vaccinator.

“I was aware that I was going to vaccinate the President and the Minister. I felt prepared because I had done and completed the training first.

“We made history today and I am very proud to have been part of it. My message to other healthcare workers is to be vaccinated. The vaccine reduces your chances of contracting Covid-19. I have not yet taken the vaccine but I will be receiving it tomorrow.”

South Africa began vaccinating healthcare workers against the coronavirus on Wednesday, with Johnson & Johnson vaccines, after it took a decision to put AstraZeneca vaccines on hold last week.

The first delivery of 80 000 Johnson & Johnson vaccines arrived on Tuesday at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg and has been approved for implementation by the SA Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra)

In the next four weeks, South Africa is expected to receive 500 000 more of the company’s doses.

South Africa has secured nine million Johnson & Johnson doses, 12 million from the Covax facility, 20 million from Pfizer and an undisclosed number through the AU’s African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team.


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