Gauteng health dept condemns attacks on vaccination workers after yet another armed robbery

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A Covid-19 vaccination team was robbed at gunpoint in Soshanguve, Tshwane.
A Covid-19 vaccination team was robbed at gunpoint in Soshanguve, Tshwane.
Jaap Arriens, NurPhoto via Getty Images
  • Five Tshwane health workers were robbed at gunpoint at a pop-up vaccination site on Friday. 
  • The incident comes weeks after a mobile vaccination team was robbed at Wonder City Taxi Rank.
  • The Gauteng health department called on community members to defend vaccination teams against criminals. 

Gauteng police launched a hunt for five men who robbed a Covid-19 vaccination team at gunpoint in Soshanguve, Tshwane, on Friday.

The robbers made off with cash, vaccination programme gadgets, two tablets and five cellphones.   

The health workers were at the busy pop-up vaccination site next to Rivoningo Primary School, around 13:30, when they were attacked.

Gauteng police spokesperson Captain Mavela Masondo said a case of armed robbery was opened at Rietgat police station.

The men remain at large.

Masondo said: "The complainant alleges that they were busy at a vaccination station in Block HH and five unknown men approached them with firearms, and took cellphones and cash from them and fled on foot."

READ Gauteng vaccination team robbed at a taxi rank in Tshwane

The Gauteng health department condemned the incident.

In a statement on Sunday, the department said the victims were members of the Pulse Health team, which offered support to the provincial health department.

According to the department's statement, none of the team members were harmed; counselling would be provided to the affected staff.

The incident came over a month after a mobile vaccination team was robbed at gunpoint at a pop-up vaccination site in Wonder City Taxi Rank in Soshanguve on 4 December 2021.

The department said:

The continued attacks on mobile vaccination teams, who are taking the vaccine programme to the community, are not only putting the lives of healthcare workers in danger, but they have a negative impact on the vaccination programme.

The department called on community members to defend the vaccination teams, saying the situation was getting out of hand.

"All these incidents are happening when the government is trying to increase vaccine access by taking the vaccination programme closer to the people," the department said.  

It added:

We call on all members of society to work with law enforcement agencies to ensure that these perpetrators are brought to book.

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