More than 68,500 prison inmates have been vaccinated

Amanda Khoza Presidency reporter
The department of correctional services says 12,328 prison officials have been vaccinated. Stock photo.
The department of correctional services says 12,328 prison officials have been vaccinated. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/Sakhorn Saengtongsamarnsin

More than 68,500 prison inmates have received their Covid-19 vaccine jabs, the department of correctional services (DCS) said on Wednesday.

Department spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said the daily vaccination target was  8,391.

Correctional services officials are not being left behind, with 12,328 vaccinated to date.  

“The current standard operating procedures have enforced a necessary barrier in the form of a protection wall between the general inmate population and the newly admitted people who are placed in the isolation sites until cleared,” he said.

In addition, he said, the meticulous deployment of officials had also made a difference.   

“There is no doubt these [nonpharmaceutical] measures have saved many lives.  However, it became clear that prevention measures alone will never be sufficient, hence the vaccination drive.

“The department is pleased with the progress registered thus far and will not rest until herd immunity is reached. Vaccination of inmates will go a long way to reduce mortality and prevent institutional outbreaks,” he said.

He said the vaccines were not mandatory but inmates and officials were encouraged to get vaccinated.

“DCS continues to monitor the environment and remains open to progressively adjust operational procedures to protect inmates and officials from increased transmission levels.”

The cumulative number of Covid-19 positive cases in correctional services is 15,052 — 9,342 officials and 5,710 inmates.

“The care function that must be rendered as per our mandate has made it possible for the department to achieve a 92.23% (13,882) recovery rate. Regrettably, 221 officials and 90 inmates were lost due to Covid-19 complications.”

Nxumalo said the situation was stable.

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