#UnrestSA: KwaZulu-Natal police roll out vaccination drive after delays caused by unrest

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Police officers at the launch of the vaccination programme for police officers at Orlando Stadium in Soweto.
Police officers at the launch of the vaccination programme for police officers at Orlando Stadium in Soweto.
Gallo Images/Sharon Seretlo
  • KwaZulu-Natal police could not start with its vaccination drive last week due to widespread riots. 
  • At least 800 officers were vaccinated on Tuesday. 
  • More than 30 000 have tested positive for Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic. 

After a week's delay, KwaZulu-Natal police kick-started their Covid-19 vaccination drive.

According to police spokesperson Colonel Athlenda Mathe, 800 officers and support staff were vaccinated in the province on Tuesday.

The police launched its vaccination drive on 5 July when Police Minister Bheki Cele and national commissioner Khehla Sitole received their jab alongside other officers at Orlando Stadium in Gauteng. 

Vaccinations, including the launch of the police's drive in KwaZulu-Natal, came to a halt last week due to widespread riots across the province. 

PICS | Covid-19: Gauteng cops queue for jabs as vaccine rollout begins

Police officers were deployed to various areas to disperse scores of people who were looting and vandalising property. 

KZN police said they would open 11 sites to vaccinate about 30 000 personnel, including reservists, security guards, and interns. 

National units, which were deployed to KwaZulu-Natal due to the unrest, would also be vaccinated in the province, spokesperson Brigadier Jay Naiker said. 

SEE | Bheki Cele gets a jab as vaccine rollout for police begins

"Police will have one site in each district, however, eThekwini will have two sites to cater for the large number of police officers stationed within the district," Naiker added. 

Mathe said the sector had recorded 34 790 cases from March 2020 to date. 

kzn vaccinations
SAPS members getting Covid-19 vaccine in KZN.
kzn vaccinations
SAPS members getting Covid-19 vaccine in KZN.

At least 711 members died due to the virus and 32 597 had recovered, she said. 

The police previously stated that the unrest in KZN demanded immediate response and maximum mobilisation of officers and resources, which resulted in the provincial rollout being delayed. 

READ | Livingstone Hospital infested with rats: Report lifts lid on state of Eastern Cape hospitals

Mathe added 42 216 police personnel nationally had been vaccinated as of Tuesday evening.  

KZN deputy police commissioner Major-General Phindile Radebe was the first to be vaccinated. 

Radebe said: "The vaccine is our best defence against this deadly virus and we are pleased to be in a position to roll out the vaccine to police officials in KZN. We are optimistic that our employees will take up this opportunity to be vaccinated as we continue to fight this pandemic in KZN.

"We will continue to educate our members on the advantages of taking the vaccine and we call on commanders at all levels to lead the process in encouraging those that might be sceptical."

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