South Africa is due to receive the first delivery of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine tonight at the O R Tambo International Airport in Gauteng.

The vaccine has been approved by the South African Health Products Authority. The consignment will be moved to a secure facility in Gauteng before being distributed overnight to the various vaccine centres in all provinces. The media has not been granted access to cover the arrival of the vaccine because of logistical issues.

Earlier, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize confirmed during the State of the Nation Address debate that 80 000 healthcare workers will be vaccinated in the next two weeks with the vaccine.

He said 20 vaccination centres have been identified across the country where more than 160 vaccinators will be deployed. The vaccination centres include the Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria, Chris Hani Baragwanath in Soweto, and Groote Schuur in Cape Town.

Mkhize said an additional 500 000 doses of the J&J vaccine South Africa has secured are expected to arrive in the country over the next four weeks.

Dr. Aslam Dasoo says there is room for optimism in the vaccination programme as the fight against the pandemic continues: