| No jab for Limpopo premier as first batch of health workers get vaccine

A Johnson & Johnson logo is seen in front of a medical syringe and a vial with coronavirus vaccine. A Johnson & Johnson logo is seen in front of a medical syringe and a vial with coronavirus vaccine.

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  • The first batch of healthcare workers in Limpopo received their Covid-19 vaccine on Friday.
  • Limpopo Premier Stan Mathabatha was not in the queue.
  • The Provincial health HOD explained that most leaders could not be vaccinated due to certain regulatory conditions attached to the vaccine, which was approved for healthcare workers.

Limpopo Premier Stan Mathabatha did not receive a Covid-19 vaccine as the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine doses began to be administered to healthcare workers in the province on Friday.

Head of the Provincial Department of Health Dr Thokozani Mhlongo explained that there were certain regulatory conditions attached to the rollout of the vaccines.

“Partly is that there are various bodies that these vaccines must go through. The vaccine has been tested in other countries, but in our country we have to adhere to a protocol.

“The study has been approved for healthcare workers in particular. However, authorities managed to make a special concession for the President [Cyril Ramaphosa], and the [National] Minister of Health and the MEC [Dr Phophi Ramathuba] to be vaccinated,” Mhlongo said.

She said there was still no approval that other leaders could be vaccinated.

“We therefore don’t want to compromise the study by putting the Premier on the spot,” Mhlongo said, pointing out that she cannot be vaccinated despite being a qualified medical doctor as she was classified as an administrator.

The first batch of the healthcare workers were vaccinated at Mankweng Hospital before authorities proceeded to Polokwane Provincial hospital with much fanfare.

A total of 39 vaccine sites have been identified across the province.

However, it was still unknown how many of the health workers have exercised their right not to be vaccinated.

Health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba indicated that the vaccination process of health workers, in the public and private sector, was expected to be completed by the end of next week.