After you, sir! Ramaphosa close to the front of the queue for vaccine

Arthur Greene

President Cyril Ramaphosa was one of the very first in South Africa to be vaccinated after Covid-19 vaccines started being rolled out on Wednesday.

Ramaphosa, along with Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, received their Johnson & Johnson vaccine at the Khayelitsha District Hospital in Cape Town.

He said at first he was terrified of the long needle that was going to be embedded into his arm.

“But it happened so quickly, so easily, it was just a prick on my flesh and I really did not feel much pain,” Ramaphosa said afterwards.

“I was rather pleased that five people were vaccinated before me, they were health workers.”

Zoliswa Gidi-Dyosi, a labour ward sister, was the very first person in the country to receive the jab.

However, many have begun to ask why the President, and also the health minister, were able to get their jabs before the country’s healthcare workers who are in line to receive the vaccine first.

The Western Cape, where the Khayelitsha District Hospital is located, had received 13,000 of the 80,000 doses that arrived at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg on Tuesday night, which will provide vaccines for about 10% of the healthcare workers in the Western Cape.

There is little doubt that Rampaphosa and Mkhize jumped the vaccine queue.

Western Cape health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo was present when these vaccines were administered but she said that she was not there to get vaccinated.

“So how can I jump the queue?” she asked journalists outside the hospital.

However, the government will argue that the country’s leaders must be among the first to receive the vaccine to increase the public’s trust in it.

South Africans distrust the vaccine more than most and several world leaders, such as President Biden and Pope Francis, have also already had the jab. Industrialist Johann Rupert flew to a clinic in Switzerland and got right in front of the queue. He owns the clinic.

Video source: Youtube

Picture source: @CyrilRamaphosa