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SAA flight en route to Belgium to collect second batch of J&J COVID-19 vaccines

The next batch will arrive in South Africa on Saturday and will push the total number of doses received in the first phase of government's rollout program to 160,000.

In this file photo taken on 17 November 2020 an illustration picture shows vials with COVID-19 vaccine stickers attached and syringes with the logo of US pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson. Picture: JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - A South African Airways (SAA) flight is en route to Belgium to collect the country's second batch of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines.

Over 40,000 healthcare workers have already received the jab in the implementation study.

The next batch will arrive in South Africa on Saturday and will push the total number of doses received in the first phase of government's rollout program to 160,000.

The South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC)'s Professor Glenda Gray said that this was truly a remarkable moment for the country.

"I did email Paul Stoffels to ask him if he had a million doses lying around and they were wonderful. Obviously, Paul Stoffels worked in Africa, so they started to look for vaccines all over the world and repatriate the vaccines back to Belgium and get them to us. It was amazing."

The US Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday announced that the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine was safe and effective for use, paving the way for its approval for emergency use.

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