- Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital treated the first Covid-19 patient in Gauteng last year.
- The patient, who was present during the inoculation drive at the hospital, travelled to Italy and had mild symptoms.
- The hospital plans to vaccinate about 500 healthcare workers per day.
It was all cheers and jubilation on Tuesday morning at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital when a team, which treated the first Gauteng Covid-19 patient a year ago, was vaccinated.
Dr Jarrod Zamparini, who was one of the first to attend the patient, Glynne Mitchell, was the first to get the jab in full view of his colleagues and hospital CEO Gladys Bogoshi.
Mitchell, who was present during the historic moment at the hospital, was admitted to the hospital on 7 March last year and was part of a group that tested positive after returning from a holiday in Italy.
Zamparini was calm and collected - and took a selfie as he received the jab on his left arm.
Gauteng Premier David Makhura and Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi were also present at the hospital to witness the rollout.
Speaking to News24 and reflecting on the past year of treating Covid-19 patients, Zamparini said he was at home watching cricket on 7 March when he got a call that the first patient from the province would be admitted at the hospital.
"It was a lot of emotions [and] thoughts going through our heads, but we came through. The staff were brilliant; nursing staff, security guards, porters and admin staff - everyone was brilliant, and we just came and did our jobs.
"It was quite daunting - all the PPE [personal protective equipment] we had to put on. It was a strange experience. It feels so long ago when it was just a year ago," he added.
The hospital has joined a group of sites in the province that are part of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine's early access study.
It received 3 900 doses and planned to vaccinate 200 healthcare workers on Tuesday, Bogoshi said.
Bogoshi, who said she was elated to witness workers getting their jabs, added the 200 who were vaccinated was to test the system, but the hospital hoped to vaccinate 500 to 600 workers daily.
Speaking after watching staffers, who saved her life, getting vaccinated, Mitchell said the feeling was amazing, and she was grateful to be part of the people who witnessed the moment.
Dr Jarrod Zamparini receives a vaccine. News24 News24
"Doctor Zamparini was the doctor that treated me on admission. He was absolutely amazing; the expertise is unbelievable; the staff, admin - it was a great experience," she added.
Mitchell, who was asymptomatic and had mild symptoms when she was admitted, said being diagnosed with the virus last year was harrowing and scary, adding she had taken a lot of strain after testing positive.
"But I am here - I am a fighter and so glad to witness the frontline workers getting vaccinated. And it's onward and upward - we can only hope that things will get better and our lives won't be the same as we knew them."
Makhura said the first anniversary of the arrival of the virus in the country was a reminder that it had been a long journey to get to the vaccine stage.
He added the province looked forward to when 10.4 million people would be vaccinated.
Makhura said more than 17 000 healthcare workers were vaccinated last week, adding the province was happy 11 million additional Johnson & Johnson vaccines would be rolled out in the second quarter of the year.
"The mood on the ground [and] the sense I get is that people have gone beyond the reluctance and any doubts about the vaccines. People really want the vaccine because [they] work and save lives."