South Africa has joined various parts of the world in beginning vaccine trials for the COVID-19, with eight participants being the first to vaccinate at a health facility in Johannesburg on Wednesday.
The large-scale vaccine trial will see 2000 participants between the ages of 18-65 be enrolled, half will be given the vaccine, while the other half will be administered a placebo.
Joining the global search for a vaccine South Africa has begun their clinical trials at Soweto’s Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital.
Junior Mhlongo, 24 was the first to receive the test drug while seven others were also vaccinated, Mhlongo says he was motivated to do something that could possibly change the world.
Mhlongo says, “I decided to participate because I want to know if this can prevent the virus. In our communities people don’t take it seriously and are dying… I’m not scared because I want to know whether it will work for COVID-19. I am hoping this vaccine will work as many people are dying and the spread will decrease rather than increase.”
The incentive is a bonus for Mhlongo and not the primary reason for his participation.
He will be paid R100 during the screening period, R300 on a second visit and will receive another R300 per visit or checkup.
Mhlongo says he heard about the trials at the hospital where his child is participating in another study.
First eight participants vaccinated in Johannesburg:
Experts say as South Africa remains on lockdown, many do not adhere to health protocols, leading to a rapid transmission of the virus.
Two thousand participants will be enrolled for the vaccine trial over the next five to six weeks, 50 of them will be HIV positive. They will be monitored over a period of a year. But an analysis of the efficacy of the vaccine can be done soon as there are 42 cases of the COVID-19 among the 2000 participants.
Experts say due to South Africa’s infection rate, that’s likely to be in November.