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Ask questions but support vaccine research - Gauteng's first J&J jab recipient

The first recipient of the J&J vaccination shot in Pretoria, Dr Ornica Khobo-Mpe said it is everyone’s right to ask questions about the vaccine – but trials and science will deliver the answers.

Dr Ornica Khobo-Mpe, head of clinical unit at Steve Biko Academic Hospital, waits to get getting vaccinated against the coronavirus on 17 February 2021. Picture: @GautengHealth/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG – The first health worker to be injected with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in Pretoria has said that she lost her parents, on the same day, to COVID-19.

Dr Ornica Khobo-Mpe said that it is everyone’s right to ask questions about the vaccine but that trials and science would deliver the answers.

Khobo-Mpe was among the thousands of health workers who have been prioritised to get access to the vaccines because of their heightened exposure to the coronavirus.

“The consequences have been deep for many families. I, for one, have suffered the loss of my parents, both on one day, from COVID-19 disease.”

GALLERY: Day 1 of South Africa's COVID-19 vaccine rollout

The doctor said that she was still grieving, but people were sick and they need to be cared for.

“I am part of the care team, so I have to give myself to participate in care of those who need care and I have to make time to care for myself also.”

She said that health workers should be the first ones to get vaccinated to show that it was safe.

But people needed to ask questions too.

“It is your absolute right to question, and the only way to get answers to questions is to have experiments done and once we see what outcomes we have it can give more evidence. If a lot of us participate in the trial, as expected by the researchers, we will answer the questions that are there that are unanswered.”

Gauteng Premier David Makhura has said that after the healthcare workers, essential workers, including teachers and law enforcement officials, would be next.

WATCH: National vaccine rollout finally gets under way

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