Get ready for the ifs, buts, and maybes: Cyril Ramaphosa became one of the first people to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in South Africa on Wednesday afternoon – largely thanks to his status as President.
Both the President and the Health Minister have received their Johnson & Johnson jabs on Wednesday, during a visit to the Khayelitsha District Hospital near Cape Town. According to the government, they saw it important for the two leading voices on COVID-19 to be given their inoculations, as it is likely to ease fears many people have about getting the vaccine:
“To demonstrate our confidence in this vaccine and help allay any fears that people may have, the Minister of Health and I will join the first health care workers to receive the vaccine in Khayelitsha. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been shown in extensive trials to be safe and efficacious, and will protect health care workers from.”
JUST IN #VaccineRolloutSA President Cyril Ramaphosa has received his shot of the #JohnsonandJohnson Covid-19 vaccine. It’s a single dose shot, and one step closer to protecting us from this deadly virus. ???????? #COVID19SA #vaccine @etvNewsSA pic.twitter.com/XDtqK16AOn— Rianté Naidoo (@RianteP) February 17, 2021
If he was still a regular civilian, Cyril Ramaphosa would have to wait for at least 1.25 million healthcare workers to be jabbed first, and a further 3.6 million patients in ‘higher priority groups’ might also beat him to the front of the queue.
With Cyril being aged 68, however, the current head of state would still be treated in Phase Two of the vaccine rollout – receiving his jab before most other adults in South Africa. Essential workers and people in congregate settings (an environment where people live in close proximity, such as a township) would be slightly ahead of ‘Citizen Ramaphosa’.