The first delivery of the first batch of 80,000 Johnson & Johnson (J&J) Covid-19 vaccine arrived at the OR Tambo International Airport on Tuesday night.
South Africa has secured nine million doses of the J&J vaccine that has been approved by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) and will be administered to the country’s healthcare workers from this week.
An additional 500,000 doses of the shot are expected to arrive in the country over the next four weeks, according to Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize.
The minister, speaking during a parliamentary debate on the State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Tuesday, said the J&J jabs will be supplemented by another 20 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine that is expected to land on home soil at the end of March.
Earlier this month, government halted the rollout of the one million Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine that arrived from the Serum Institute of India (SII). This followed preliminary data that showed the vaccine gave minimal protection against mild-to-moderate infection caused by the 501Y.V2 variant discovered in South Africa last year.
Mkhize said the vaccine doses have been offered to the African Union (AU) platform on vaccines and will be distributed to countries that have already expressed interest in acquiring the stock.