Nearly 100K inmates vaccinated while department battles with vaccine hesitancy
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The Covid-19 vaccination drive for both officials and inmates continues as the Justice and Correctional Services Department push various campaigns working towards eliminating vaccine hesitancy.
To date, 19 110 out of 39 743 officials, 95 639 out of 138 327 inmates, 1010 healthcare professionals and 179 educators have been vaccinated.
Records show that 239 officials and 101 inmates have died due to Covid-19 complications in the last year.
Currently, the department has 73 active Covid-19 cases - of which 67 are officials and six are inmates.
Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola said that vaccine hesitancy and fear of side effects had been cited by most officials and inmates as reasons for them not availing themselves for vaccination.
“From next week, we will intensify our vaccination drive and we will be in Bizzah Makhate Correctional Centre in the Free State to launch our Vooma Vaccination campaign in correctional services.
“We want to salute women and men in brown uniforms who enabled us to prevent the rapid spread of Covid-19 in our correctional centres,” Lamola reported.
He told the Parliamentary portfolio committee that challenges were still there, but they were not as prevalent and dire.
“We are turning the tide. We have to do more. We commit ourselves to do the basics right and strengthen performance management in the department of correctional service,” Lamola said when he presented the political overview on annual reports for the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, Correctional Services and Office of the Chief Justice covering the period of 2020-21 financial year on Tuesday.