South Africa’s COVID-19 inoculation programme has officially kicked off in the Western Cape.

The vaccination of healthcare workers is under way at the Khayelitsha District Hospital.

The first four workers who received the injections are Azoliswa Gidi-Dyosi, a sister in the labour ward, EM physician, Dr Sa’ad Lahri, member of the housekeeping team, Mavuyo Mpambani and admin clerk, Cwengisa Dadirai.

The Health Department says 16 people will be vaccinated today in KDH and they will then undergo a mandatory observation period.

Healthcare workers in Khayelitsha start receiving vaccine:

President Cyril Ramaphosa and Health Minister are also expected to take the vaccine in Khayelitsha on Wednesday.

The President says this is aimed at demonstrating their confidence in the vaccine as well as help allay any fears that South Africans may have.

SABC News reporter Bulelani Phillip speaks to the President’s spokesperson on this:

 Cautious optimism

The news comes amid concerns over the safety of the vaccine within the nursing sector.

The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa) has voiced cautious optimism over the roll out of the COVID-19 vaccine, saying several healthcare workers have expressed confusion over the safety of the jab.

Denosa spokesperson, Sibongiseni Delihlazo, says more information needs to be provided to healthcare workers.

Delihlazo says, “We have mixed feelings from our members, some are looking forward to it and some are still hesitant. We attribute that to a lot of information that still needs to get to them. It is important that healthcare workers get informed before they take the vaccine. So we are a bit worried about those who aren’t as sure at the moment because they need help with the information and it is up to them to make a decision…”

Mixed reactions, concerns by health workers about the J&J vaccine rollout:

On Tuesday night, 80 000 Johnson and Johnson doses arrived in South Africa, and are being transported to various vaccination centres across the country.

President Ramaphosa has said most centres are expected to be ready to begin vaccinations today.

Johnson & Johnson vaccines arrive in SA: