At the Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria, anaesthetist Dr Onicca Khobo-Mpe received the vaccine. Both her parents died in the first wave. Khobo-Mpe did not even take time off to mourn them.
By the end of next weekend, 1,300 frontline workers at the hospital will have been inoculated.
"I've been a health worker since 1994 and I know I must remain positive and take care of my own health," Khobo-Mpe said.
She said she was nervous about getting the vaccine but knew it gave her a chance to keep helping others.
"As a scientist you question everything. But if there was no substantial evidence that the vaccine could [help] then there wouldn't be a push to get it," she said.
Professor Marc Mendelson, head of infectious diseases and HIV medicine at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, had his J&J jab on Thursday at the hospital and had minor side effects about 10 hours later.
"I experienced chills, which lasted about one hour, and then had a mild headache overnight, relieved by paracetamol.
"I actually found it a very productive experience, a feeling of one's immune system taking up the challenge to protect you against Covid-19 in the future."