Makhura says he will wait his turn as vaccinations kick off in Gauteng
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Johannesburg - Gauteng Premier David Makhura will not jump the queue for a coronavirus vaccine jab, he will wait his turn along with 10 million other residents in the province.
This was the stance taken by Makhura as he observed the Gauteng province kicking off its vaccination programme for healthcare workers at the Chris Hani Baragwanath and Steve Biko Academic hospitals on Wednesday.
On Tuesday night, 80 000 Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses arrived from the US at OR Tambo International before they were flown around the country to different vaccination centres.
The J&J vaccine doses are being used to kickstart South Africa’s massive vaccination programme.
“I am in the queue, I will wait my turn with the other 10 million people in Gauteng, our turn will come,” said Makhura.
“We must first get the healthcare workers vaccinated. They are the priority right now,” he said.
Makhura said he was confident that the Gauteng province would reach the 67% target which was needed for sufficient population immunity.
“Today, we are taking a giant step like a baby, we must win the battle against Covid-19,” he said.
The Gauteng province has received 11 000 doses, the most in the first vaccine rollout.
Gauteng Health MEC Dr Nomathemba Mokgethi, acting chief executive at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, Dr Steve Mankupane, acting chief operating officer for Gauteng Health, Nomsa Mmope and several healthcare workers, were among those who got vaccinated in the province on Wednesday.
The Chris Hani Baragwanath and Steve Biko Academic hospitals have been identified as the two hospitals to kick off Gauteng’s vaccination programme.
Meanwhile, President Cyril publicly got inoculated at the Khayelitsha Hospital on Wednesday, saying he did not feel pain afterwards.
Five healthcare workers took their vaccine jabs before Ramaphosa on Wednesday, with Cape Town nurse Zoliswa Gidi-Dyosi becoming the first healthcare worker to get vaccinated for the coronavirus in South Africa.
Ramaphosa, who signalled with a slight grimace and a thumbs up after taking his vaccination jab, spoke briefly afterwards.
“It was just a prick, I dId not feel much pain. This is an important milestone because finally, the vaccines are here.
“Five people were vaccinated before me. It was a joy to see that nothing had happened to them, it was straight forward.
“I want to invite South Africans to take this up and thank Minister Zweli Mkhize for working so hard, he has had many sleepless nights,” said Ramaphosa.
Ramaphosa also thanked health workers for their efforts during the coronavirus pandemic and said he hoped the mass vaccination programme that the country is about to undergo would be flawless.
“To the doomsayers, who are predicting total mayhem and disaster, let’s have faith in our system and in our health workers and let them do what they do best.
“We will continue to give them the support and all the assistance that we are able to,” said the president.
South Africa has secured nine million Johnson & Johnson doses, 12 million vaccine doses from the Covax facility, 20 million doses from Pfizer and an undisclosed number of doses through the AU’s African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team facility.