South Africa

'Can I close my eyes?' Ramaphosa has Covid-19 jab with Khayelitsha hospital staff

'Can I close my eyes?' Ramaphosa has Covid-19 jab with Khayelitsha hospital staff

Labour ward sister Zoliswa Gidi-Dyosi became the first healthworker in SA to be vaccinated against Covid-19 on Wednesday.

She was injected with the Johnson & Johnson vaccination at Khayelitsha District Hospital in the Western Cape, watched by health minister Zweli Mkhize and Western Cape health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo.

Mkhize and President Cyril Ramaphosa were then vaccinated alongside 16 health workers, including emergency medicine physician Dr Sa’ad Lahri, housekeeping staffer Mavuyo Mpambani and administration clerk Cwengisa Dadirai.

As a nurse prepared to vaccinate Ramaphosa in his upper left arm, he jokingly asked: "Can I close my eyes?" His vaccination was accompanied by the sounds of scores of camera shutters and followed by a round of applause. 

Mbombo said she would not be receiving the vaccination. The Western Cape had received only 13,000 of the 80,000 doses that arrived at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg on Tuesday night, she said.

This was sufficient to vaccinate only about 10% of the health workers in the Western Cape, and they had been prioritised according to their roles and their comorbidities.

“So how can I jump the queue?” Mbombo told journalists outside the hospital.

Most of the vaccines sent to the Western Cape will be administered at the province's largest hospitals, Groote Schuur and Tygerberg.

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