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Day 1 of SA’s J&J vaccine rollout a huge success – Health Department

The Johnson & Johnson candidate, which has shown very promising results against the COVID-19 variant that was first identified in South Africa, was now being rolled out in all provinces.

A vaccinator recording the details of a vaccine set to be given to a healthcare worker at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria on 17 February 2021. Abigail Javier/Eyewitness News

CAPE TOWN – The health department has said day one of South Africa's mass rollout of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine was a huge success.

The country's inoculation plans were briefly derailed when it was decided that the one million AstraZeneca vaccines it had secured couldn't be used because of efficacy concerns.

The Johnson & Johnson candidate, which has shown very promising results against the COVID-19 variant that was first identified in South Africa, was now being rolled out in all provinces.

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

Health workers were being prioritised, with the Health Department saying that the group was three to four times less likely to contract COVID-19 compared to the general population.

The country has already lost 663 healthcare workers to the virus.

President Cyril Ramaphosa was one of the first recipients of the vaccine at the Khayelitsha District Hospital on Wednesday.

“Our health sector is robust, agile and effective and our health workers are able to get up to speed very quickly.”

Government has said that it would procure 9 million of the Johnson & Johnson vaccines in total.

WATCH: President Cyril Ramaphosa gets vaccinated

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