Two thousand people will begin participating in a coronavirus vaccine trial, due to get underway in South Africa on Wednesday. Half will receive the vaccine, while the rest will be administered a placebo.

Eligible adults between the ages of 18-65 years will participate.

South Africa’s launch of COVID-19 vaccine trials will assist in ensuring that once the vaccine is developed that it is distributed to the country’s citizens and other Africans.

 First COVID-19 vaccine trial in Africa launched:

Race against time

With over 9 million coronavirus cases and hundreds of thousands of deaths worldwide, it’s a race against time to find a vaccine.

South Africa will now begin testing a vaccine manufactured at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. The first patient will be vaccinated on Wednesday.

As South Africa breaches the over 100 000 infections mark, SABC News reporter Chriselda Lewis and cameraman Thulo Monare visited one of the vaccine trial sites in Johannesburg and spoke exclusively to a participant.

these trial participants speak exclusively to SABC News about being prepared for an endeavour aimed at saving lives.


“It’s a very serious thing. I am very happy to participate and contribute towards this. We are very concerned about this COVID-19. So, I am honoured,” says of the participants.

Principal Investigator for the vaccine trial at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital Anthonet Koen says even though they have enrolled 2 000 participants, half of them will get the real vaccine. “We reiterate this when we enroll patients.”

First Covid-19 vaccine trial in Africa launched:

The trial will start with a group of people without HIV. They will receive two doses of the vaccine over four weeks.

“This is basically to do an intensive analysis in terms of the safety of the vaccine. Over the course of the next week or so, we will start with group two, which is a larger group of 1 900 individuals. This group, we are planning of giving a single dose of vaccine, but depending on the data that is coming from Oxford University, the two-dose schedule is currently being evaluated. We might or might not include the second dose of the vaccine,” says SA Medical Research Council Vaccines and Infectious Diseases Analytical Research Unit’s Principal Investigator Professor Shabir Madhi.

Scientists say of concern now is vaccine nationalism.

“Vaccine production is being ring-fenced for particular countries and obviously, the richer countries are trying to say my country first and all my citizens first. So, there is a very important dialogue about vaccine access, which says actually if we develop vaccines, these need to be available to all citizens of the world,” says Wits Health and HIV Institute Executive Director Professor Helen Rees.

President of the Medical Research Council Professor Glenda Gray says, “This is very important. This is one of three vaccine trials that will start this year …. (end at) hopefully, the results will be encouraging.”

To determine the efficacy of the vaccine depends on how quickly people infected with COVID-19 volunteer to take part in the trial.