Police officers next in line to get vaccines

Members of the South African Police Services (SAPS). PHOTO: Gallo Images/Brenton Geach

Police officers in South Africa are next in line to get vaccinated, after the inoculation of teachers.

This is according to the Health Department’s Dr Nicholas Crisp, who said this second major vaccination programme is now at an advanced stage of planning, The Citizen reports.

“It will be rolled out immediately upon the completion of the teacher [vaccination],” he said on Friday.

Police service vaccines next

Crisp, who is a Deputy Director-General (DDG) in the department, managing the distribution of Covid-19 vaccines, said they have identified 145 000 officials and 36 000 civilians working in the police service.

Vaccination sites will be set up at police stations, in collaboration with licenced pharmacies.

Crisp announced that another vaccination programme will be aimed at the South African National Defence Force (Sandf) and Correctional Services.

“SANDF has its own military health services and will be vaccinating their own members,” said Crisp.

Inmates, said Crisp, will be vaccinated through Correctional Services, while the staff will receive their vaccines through the same programme run by the Department of Public Service and Administration with the Government Employees Medical Scheme (Gems).

“There are a lot of parallel processes in terms of volume of vaccines.”

Vaccines in South Africa

Besides the Pfizer vaccines that are already in the country, Crisp said the country will receive an additional two million that will be delivered soon.

In addition, he said Johnson & Johnson (J&J) is expected to start delivering more vaccines after the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) halted the distribution of the contaminated jabs.

So far, the country has already inoculated over two million citizens and government is determined to prioritise frontline workers.

“What has constrained us has been the lack of the availability of vaccines and we know if we want to get to more people, we need more sites and more vaccines,” said Crisp.

Teacher vaccines

Crisp confirmed that the country received the 300 000 J&J vaccines earmarked for teachers on Thursday.

The department is targeting 582 000 public, private and school governing body-appointed teachers.

“Most of them have already been vaccinated because some of them are over 60, while others work as psychologists or registered as healthcare workers.

While the 300 000 vaccines will not be enough to cover all the teachers, Crisp said the next consignment is due to arrive next week from a similar source in the US.

The Basic Education Department is arranging for schools to get designated vaccination sites, and will arrange for transport to get them to these centres.

Crisp reminded teachers to carry their IDs and medical aid cards (for those who have them).

The Citizen