Provincial police commissioner Lieutenant-General Elias Mawela led the vaccination of SAPS members during the Covid-19 vaccination drive at the Pretoria Moot Police Station. Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)
Provincial police commissioner Lieutenant-General Elias Mawela led the vaccination of SAPS members during the Covid-19 vaccination drive at the Pretoria Moot Police Station. Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

Tshwane police officers take a shot to the arm with Covid jabs

By James Mahlokwane Time of article published Jul 10, 2021

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GAUTENG residents will no longer have to deal with the inconvenience of police stations closed due to Covid-19 positive cases.

This is the hope of MEC for Community Safety Faith Mazibuko and provincial SAPS commissioner General Elias Mawela, who yesterday led the vaccination of police officers at the Pretoria Moot Police Station yesterday. The plan is to vaccinate all 37 000 members of the SAPS.

At least 92 police members have already succumbed to the virus from over 700 members who tested positive since the outbreak of the Covid-19 early in 2020.

Mazibuko said the government was happy the police were finally getting their jabs because they interacted and touched people all the time as part of their work.

The MEC said he was pleased with the turn-out of members of the SAPS - from officials to support staff - who lined up for the jab yesterday.

She said: "We all recall that these are frontline workers. These are officials who engage with a lot of people and they are high risk because you know we have police officers who have to mend roadblocks and those who have to react to situations in communities.

"That means they will have to interact with people and end up arresting and cuffing people and that is why we are at ease today when they are being vaccinated.

“They come into contact with a lot of people while doing their work.”

Speaking about the hundreds of members who tested positive since Covid-19 hit the shores of South Africa, Mawela said management was happy that many of the officials recovered and were back on duty.

However, he said: "We still have so many police officers who are still in isolation and it is a very big number. We have identified 15 sites approved by our head office. We believe they will manage to cater for the numbers we have here on the ground."

Mawela was a symbol of leadership for police officers under the age of 50 who temporarily abandoned their posts to queue for the vaccine.

Constable Munyadziwa Ramovha from Bronkhorstspruit Police Station came to vaccinate and encourage her colleagues to also receive their jab because she nearly lost her life to the virus last year in December after she tested positive for Covid-19.

"This virus is real and dangerous. I was struggling to do things for myself and it was so painful. I am feeling blessed and lucky to be one of the officers who survived," she added.

Meanwhile, Covid-19 vaccine registration for South Africans between the ages of 35 to 9 will open on July 15 and the Department of Health has set a target to start vaccinating this age group on August 1.

Acting Health Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane made the announcement during a media briefing yesterday.

“As we are opening the new age groups, we are receiving a number of requests with people are asking us to prioritize a certain sector.

“We will continue to approach the vaccine rollout according to age sectors, but we are reviewing this. We do believe that the age process continues to be the best. It will continue to allow us to reach more, South Africans,” said Kubayi-Ngubane.

More than 4 million people have received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine in the country and the number of daily vaccinations is increasing.

She said the department was encouraged that the number of vaccinations per day had surpassed 199 000, however, it was expecting to surpass 250 000 vaccinations per day by the end of next week.

“This is one of the milestones we have reached, but we know that many people are saying it's not enough in comparison with the rest of the population.

“And despite these trials, the Inter-Ministerial Committee of Vaccine still expects us to achieve more and addressed as yesterday on how to improve and ramp up the vaccine program,” she said.

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