The Covid-19 vaccination rollout for all prisoners is now under way in SA’s prisons, with the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine provided by the health department for inmates.
“We will target to reach all inmates irrespective of their age groups,” correctional services minister Ronald Lamola said on Tuesday.
He said 1,325 healthcare professionals in correctional services have already received their jabs, along with 1,899 correctional officials and 61 educators in the prison service.
In addition, 1,509 inmates aged 50-59 have been vaccinated.
“Yesterday, when we kick-started our vaccination programme targeting all inmates, a total of 2,569 inmates across the country were vaccinated.”
Addressing possible vaccine hesitancy,Lamola said both offenders and officials must consent to receiving the vaccine.
“We understand vaccine anxiety, but we appeal to all of South Africans to be vaccinated, this will protect lives.
“DCS continues to raise awareness about vaccine safety and the importance of being vaccinated.”
On receiving the vaccine himself, he said: “By publicly taking the jab, I wanted to allay fears and enhance public trust on vaccines. I hope more and more people will be encouraged to come forward and get vaccinated, it is in our hands, let us save lives.”