Wednesday, 17 February 2021 09:44

By Lehlohonolo Lehana..

The first delivery of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine has arrived in South Africa. 

The vaccine, which has been approved by the South African Health Products Authority, arrived at the O.R. Tambo International Airport in Gauteng on Tuesday night. 

"Health teams worked overnight to distribute the vaccines to most parts throughout the country," South African Medical Research Council chief executive officer Glenda Gray said, vaccination will start at 12 p.m."

South Africa received an unspecified number of the J&J shots overnight and is in talks to procure an additional 20 million doses.

In his hybrid State of the Nation Address (SONA) last week, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the country has secured nine million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, of which 80 000 doses would arrive in the first batch.

About 500 000 vials of vaccines will follow in the next four weeks.  This as the Johnson & Johnson shot has shown to be effective against the 501Y.V2 variant.

Meanwhile, Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize confirmed the latest COVID-19 stats show that the country has a cumulative number of 1 494 119 COVID-19 cases, with 1 210 new cases recorded.

The cumulative total of tests conducted to date is 8 737 330 with 24 486 new tests recorded since the last report.

A further 219 deaths have been reported: Eastern Cape 20, Free State 9, Gauteng 56, Kwa-Zulu Natal 43, Limpopo 29, Mpumalanga 10, Northern Cape 14 and Western Cape 38 which brings the total to 48 313 deaths, said Mkhize.

The country’s recovery figure now stands at 1 396 951, representing a recovery rate of 93.5%.