WATCH | They're here! SA's first Covid-19 vaccines arrive at OR Tambo
SA received its first million Covid-19 vaccines at OR Tambo International Airport near Johannesburg on February 1 2021. President Cyril Ramaphosa was in attendance to receive the much-awaited vaccinations.
SA has officially received its first batch of Covid-19 doses, which President Cyril Ramaphosa hailed as a major milestone in the fight against the coronavirus.
The widely anticipated vaccine landed in SA from India on a rainy Monday afternoon on an Emirates cargo aeroplane.
Ramaphosa, his deputy David Mabuza and health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize were among the government representatives who witnessed the arrival first-hand.
Seemingly ecstatic, Ramaphosa and Mabuza could not help but double-check the receipt on the wrapped consignment shortly after it was offloaded from the plane.
The AstraZeneca doses, produced by the Serum Institute of India, are destined for health-care workers under the first phase of the country's vaccination rollout plan.
Spectators observed the moment from a distance as personnel worked to ensure a smooth delivery and handling of the vaccine batches.
“Today marks a major milestone in our fight against the coronavirus pandemic as we receive our first consignment of the vaccine. This batch will benefit our health care workers who have been at the forefront of keeping us all safe,” said Ramaphosa after the delivery.
He thanked everyone who contributed towards the successful development of the vaccine.
Speaking at an earlier engagement on Monday, Ramaphosa said this was the most ambitious vaccination campaign in the country's history.
“We are now entering a new phase in our fight against the pandemic ... This will mark the beginning of a mass vaccination campaign that will be the most ambitious and extensive in our country's history. It will reach all parts of the country and will be phased to ensure that those most in need are prioritised.
The presidency said the aim of the vaccination programme was to achieve immunity across the population. The first batch of the rollout programme was expected to prioritise nearly 1.2 million front-line health workers, he said.