Ronald Lamola denies prisoners are getting preferential treatment in Covid-19 vaccine rollout

Correctional services minister Ronald Lamola says inmates have received their Covid-19 jabs according to their age categories. File photo.
Correctional services minister Ronald Lamola says inmates have received their Covid-19 jabs according to their age categories. File photo.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu/Sunday Times

Correctional services minister Ronald Lamola has dismissed claims that prisoners are receiving preferential treatment in the Covid-19 vaccination rollout programme.

The minister told Jacaranda FM the criticism is unfounded as inmates are getting vaccinated along with the general population.

“With regards to those who are criticising us and claiming we are giving preference to inmates above society, that criticism is unfounded. Older inmates were vaccinated when the population 60 years and above received their jabs. 

“When it was 50 years and above, they participated with everyone in society, so there was no preference. The reality is we are going to go further than that with the health department so we are able to reach herd immunity,” he told the station.

Speaking at the launch of the rollout programme this week, Lamola admitted there was some hesitancy about the vaccine but said inmates in general were excited to get the jab.

He said the department would prioritise preventing a Covid-19 outbreak in correctional centres because they are overcrowded.

He commended the co-operation of inmates and officials to get vaccinated and raise awareness about the jab.

The manner in which Covid-19 has been contained in our facilities is not a miracle. It is due to the hard work of the men and women in brown. We would not be in a position to roll out this programme today without the collaboration of inmates. We thank them for their continued co-operation.”

Inmates are receiving the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 

Lamola said 1,509 inmates who fall in the 50-to-59 age bracket have been vaccinated, and 2,569 inmates across the country were vaccinated on Tuesday.  

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.