Johannesburg – Dr Samantha Potgieter was the first person to take a hit from Covid-19 on Thursday in the Free State province.
Potgieter is an infectious disease expert at Universitas University Hospital and an affiliated lecturer in the Department of Internal Medicine at the Free State University (UFS).
Cape Town nurse Zoliswa Gidi-Dyosi became the first South African to receive the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine at Khayelitsha hospital on Wednesday. She received her vaccine after a shipment of 80,000 doses arrived in the country on Tuesday evening. She is a nurse and midwife.
Across the country, all provinces have rolled out the vaccination program for health workers.
Dr Potgieter, who works in the Covid-19 ward at Universitas Hospital in Bloemfontein, said she was happy to have received the vaccine and to have arrived in the province.
“I am grateful to Dr Nicholas Pearce and his team for setting up this vaccination station for us at Universitas Hospital,” she said. “The idea was to vaccinate a few people to make sure everything is in place. To check our systems, to make sure we can immunize others safely. It is extremely important to immunize healthcare workers. Not only are we trying to protect our healthcare workers from occupational exposure to Covid-19 – and they are clearly at high risk of occupational exposure – but you also want to preserve a workforce, ”Potgieter said.
Pearce, chief of surgery at UFS and also head of the Free State province’s Covid-19 task force, said they were rolling out the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in a clinical trial 3B, because the vaccine has not yet been registered. with the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra).
“It is vital to immunize health workers to prevent staff from getting sick and dying. So this is a critical process, because all healthcare workers are key people we need to protect in the fight against Covid-19, ”Pearce said.
Free State Health MEC Montseng Tsiu, who also took a vaccine on Wednesday, said nursing students will also be part of the immunization process, alongside healthcare workers.
He said it would be important not only to immunize healthcare workers working directly in Covid-19 departments, but to immunize all healthcare workers so that we can provide continued service to the community.
Mondli Mvambi, spokesman for the Free State Department of Health, said Tsiu and his department head, Dr David Motau, both took the vaccine on Thursday.
“These health leaders in the Free State have encouraged health workers to volunteer to get vaccinated as part of the national campaign to boost herd immunity.
“Building herd immunity in the Free State means that 67% of the population, which is 1.9 million of the 2.9 million in the Free State, will be vaccinated to make sure they are safe of the virus, ”Mvambi said.
Meanwhile, the National Biologics Control Laboratory (NCL), based at UFS and a full member of the International Network of Biologicals Control Laboratories of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the one of 12 laboratories around the world under contract to carry out the vaccine tests for WHO, received the first batch of AstraZeneca vaccines earlier this month.
“Since the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is still in the testing phase and has not yet been registered, it has not gone through the same process as the AstraZeneca vaccine. NCL is also the only vaccine testing laboratory in the country to perform final quality control testing of all human vaccine lots marketed in South Africa on behalf of Sahpra.
“In its role as the vaccine testing laboratory for WHO, the NCL helps ensure that vaccines purchased under the WHO prequalification program for international distribution in resource-limited countries meet the high standards of quality, safety and efficiency, ”said a spokesperson for the university.