Rollout of Johnson & Johnson vaccine continues in Gauteng

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The rollout of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is continuing in Gauteng after the first healthcare workers at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital and Steve Biko Hospital were inoculated.

However, some medical staff at Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria have expressed concern over the vaccines that are being administered to healthcare workers across the country.

Gauteng has already lost 95 healthcare workers to the virus. Two of the largest public healthcare facilities in the province were the first where frontline healthcare workers were inoculated.

Although many were enthusiastic about receiving the vaccine, Head of the Clinical Unit at Steve Biko Hospital in Pretoria, Doctor Onicca Khobo-Mphe, has expressed some reservations.

“The only concern around the initial information is that it is a rollout and then discovering at the last hour that it is actually part of a trial that we are on. It’s not necessarily fully confirmed to work. It’s still upon every individual to make their personal decision whether to participate.”

Steve Biko Academic Hospital received just under 6 000 doses of the vaccine for staff. CEO of the Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria Dr. Mathabo Mathubela,  says despite the fact that the Johnson & Johnson vaccines are still in the trial stage, she is confident it will work.

“The only way to deal with a virus is to vaccinate, there is no other way and yes it is a trial but it’s a trial that has already gone through other phases and has been proven that it does work against COVID-19.”

The Gauteng government says it aims to eventually vaccinate over 10 million people. Gauteng Premier David Makhura says they received 16 800 doses to start inoculating the healthcare workers in the province.

“When are we going to get it? I think it depends entirely on the procurement plan. There is one central procurement plan. We have got 80 000 doses from J&J. But I am at a provincial level if you ask me; all we want is more of these vaccines so that we can get the vaccines where they are needed most.”

Makhura said he was pleased that President Cyril Ramaphosa had the vaccine to send a message that it is safe.

President Cyril Ramaphosa inoculated: