Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize, has sought to allay fears over the COVID-19 vaccination programme, saying government has put in place mechanisms to monitor all recipients and act quickly if any adverse side effects are detected.

Mkhize and President Cyril Ramaphosa yesterday became the first high profile South Africans to receive the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at the Khayelitsha District Hospital in the Western Cape.

Mkhize says over 400 000 healthcare workers have registered to get the jab and it was important for him and the President to lead by example.

“This morning the count has gone past over 400 000 who have registered for vaccination so the number is increasing. So it gives me good opportunity to go back to the manufacturers and say guys listen please lets match this. The deputy minister will take the vaccine the MECs will take the vaccine so when they stand up and say take the vaccine they will start by saying I’ve already been vaccinated it’s a very very important to reassure our people.

We have enough scientific expertise to be able to detect anything that could be a risk that to our people and we will act before anybody is harmed if there’s any sort,” the Health Minister says.

The first batch of the 80 000 Johnson & Johnson doses arrived in South Africa on Tuesday night, with more doses expected in the coming weeks.

Government is confident it will secure enough doses to vaccinate 40 million people: