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CAPE TOWN - Over two days, more than 2,200 healthcare workers have been vaccinated in South Africa.

Eighteen vaccination sites across the country have to get through 80,000 vials of the Johnson & Johnson medication over the next few weeks.

The country has secured 9 million doses of this vaccine.

The National Health Department said that more than 400,000 health workers had so far registered to receive the vaccine.

GALLERY: Day 1 of South Africa's COVID-19 vaccine rollout

At the launch on Wednesday, Medical Research Council president, Professor Glenda Gray, explained what they did once the rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine was shelved due to lower efficacy against the second variant.

"We very quickly got on the phone with Paul Stoffels from J&J and said to him: 'Have you got a spare million doses for us?' and this is 14 days ago. He looked all over the world and he brought all the vaccines back into Belgium for us, so they were sending planes all over the world - Latin America, Mexico, Peru - and bringing back the vaccines for us."

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize clarified why this vaccine could be distributed, immediately after arriving.

"These vaccines were part of the Ensemble trial, so they had the whole analysis of contents done, the approvals were done and they were all registered already. All that was needed was to re-register the protocols so that they could used with the approval of SAHPRA and that took place last week."

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine's efficacy was tested in South Africa last year.

WATCH: National vaccine rollout finally gets under way

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This article first appeared on EWN : Over 2,200 healthcare workers vaccinated against COVID-19 since Wednesday

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