The vaccine, known as ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 was developed by the Oxford Jenner Institute and is already being examined in Britain with 4000 volunteers already.
South Africa is set to test the vaccine on two thousand people with 50 of the volunteers being HIV positive.
“We began screening participants for the South African Oxford 1 Covid-19 vaccine trial last week, and the first participants will be vaccinated this week,” University of Witwatersrand vaccinology professor, Shabir Madhi said at a virtual press conference.
“As we enter winter in South Africa and pressure increases on public hospitals, now more than ever we need a vaccine to prevent infection by COVID-19,” Madhi added.
South Africa’s Health Minister Zweli Mkhize agreed with Madhi’s concerns, warning that the country is going through a devastating storm and is expected to peak during the cold winter months.
Over 3,500 South African medical personnel including doctors and nurses have contracted COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, and at least 34 have died.