CAPE TOWN - President Cyril Ramaphosa was among the first to be inoculated on Wednesday as South Africa launched its coronavirus vaccine campaign using Johnson & Johnson jabs after the rollout was delayed.
A nurse who works in a maternity ward at a hospital in Khayelitsha township in Cape Town was the first to be immunised, hours after the first batch of 80,000 doses landed in the country on Tuesday.
Nurse Zoliswa Gidi-Dyosi looked relaxed as she received the jab, which was broadcast on live television.
After five healthcare workers got their jabs, it was Ramaphosa's turn.
Before taking off his jacket and rolling up his white shirt's long sleeves for the injection, he asked the nurse who was administering the jab if there would be any side effects.
"This day represents a real milestone for us as South Africans that finally the vaccines are here and they are being administered," he said as he left the hospital to go to Parliament.
He was upbeat that the rollout will be "flawless".
"This is a new era for us."
The new vaccines, only recently approved by the national health authorities, were distributed to vaccination centres overnight.
The stock is part of a consignment of nine million doses that South Africa secured from the American pharmaceutical giant.
The first doses will target healthcare workers as part of a study by the country's medical research authority.
Another 420,000 doses will be delivered over the next four weeks.