Cops finally get the jab after 636 members die of Covid-19
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JOHANNESBURG –Police officers and union leaders lined up at the Orlando Stadium, Soweto on Monday morning to get their jabs in a vaccination drive that was expected to cover over 180 000 officers.
Among those who got their jabs in Soweto were Police Minister Bheki Cele and national commissioner Khehla Sitole.
Last month Cele revealed that Covid-19 claimed the lives of 636 police officers in the past year.
Many police stations also had to be shut down due to some officers having tested positive.
“We have painfully lost hundreds of our employees both uniform members and support personnel across departments and entities. To date 636 police members have died of Covid-19 related complications and 29 334 have recovered.
“Many of them could not get their well-deserved dignified send off because we had to observe Covid-19 regulations. Policing under the Covid-19 pandemic has left the sector with numerous lessons and unmatched level of experience; of policing against all odds,” Cele said at the time.
Sitole also warned employees of the SAPS against coming to work knowing that they had tested positive for the virus. He said if any employee of the SAPS reported for duty while being aware that he or she is Covid-19-positive, that not only makes them guilty of misconduct, but also the criminal offence of attempted murder.
This second phase of the vaccination of front-line workers comes two weeks after the vaccination drive for teachers started.
While some teachers were enthusiastic about it and went to get their jabs, many others refused.
In Gauteng only, almost 10 000 teachers and support staff employed by the Gauteng Department of Education refused to take the vaccine.
This is despite the fact that Gauteng is the epicentre of the third wave of Covid-19 infections which has seen the rapid spread of the virus which has wreaked havoc on the province, the economic powerhouse of the country.
The department said while vaccination was voluntary, the World Health Organization encouraged people at higher risk of severe illness from Covid-19, such as health-care providers, educators, older or elderly adults, and people with other medical conditions, to take the Covid-19 jab to reduce the risk of contracting Covid-19 and its consequences.
“Getting vaccinated could also help protect people around you, because if you are protected from getting infected from the disease, you are less likely to infect someone else,” it said.