PRISONERS received the vaccine in their thousands. File picture
PRISONERS received the vaccine in their thousands. File picture

18 690 officials and 85 800 prisoners vaccinated nationally

By Genevieve Serra Time of article published Sep 18, 2021

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Cape Town - The Department of Correctional Services can confirm that a total of 18 690 officials and 85 800 prisoners have been vaccinated without any hiccups.

DCS reported that 10 029 officials and 6 660 prisoners were infected with Covid-19, and a total of 16 307 have recovered.

The figures were released by Department of Correctional Services national spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo.

Nxumalo said the numbers were as of Tuesday, adding that they were keeping the virus at bay.

Now that the country had adjusted to lockdown level 2, visitations would be allowed – but would be restricted to two visits, per inmate, per month.

Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola launched the vaccination roll-out in July.

He said DCS had prioritised vaccination for both inmates and officials, to ensure their protection and that of the general public.

Lamola said, at the time, the challenge was limiting the spread of the virus due to social distancing at correctional facilities.

Nxumalo said it was important to continue to adhere to regulations and that the vaccination of prisoners would mean returning to activities before the pandemic, such as face-to-face programmes.

“Since the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic in December 2019, the global health community has been grappling with the effects of the pandemic, which negatively affects our health systems, the economy, and overall well-being of citizens,” Nxumalo said.

“In managing this pandemic in our correctional facilities, DCS developed the Standard Operating Procedures (known as SOPs) for preparedness, detection, and response to Covid-19.

“‘These SOPs provide guidance on mitigation strategies that must be implemented to prevent, detect, and respond to Covid-19 in DCS. The SOPs are reviewed, as required, to incorporate new developments.

“These SOPs are also aligned to the government's risk categorisation, in terms of Covid-19 adjusted alert levels.

Nxumalo said they continued to limit movement.

“The department continues to implement the non-pharmaceutical measures of Infection Prevention and Control, in order to curb the spread of the infections. This also talks to measures that are in place, including limitations in movement in and out of the centres, in order to comply with Infection Prevention and Control,” said Nxumalo.

He added that there are no vaccination complications reported to date.

“Broad immunisation is critical to help stop the current pandemic and to protect the correctional services community. Benefits specific to DCS include, amongst others, an expedited return to the ’pre-pandemic normal’, and additional face-to-face programmes at centre-level,” added Nxumalo.

Spokesperson for the provincial department of Health Mark Van Der Heever said vaccinations were mandated by the Department of Correctional Services.

Weekend Argus

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