Prisoners not given preferential vaccination treatment, says Lamola

Prisoners not given preferential vaccination treatment, says Lamola

Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola has disputed reports that government is giving prisoners preferential treatment in the doling out of Covid-19 vaccines. 


Ronald Lamola
Sibahle Motha

Lamola launched the department’s vaccination programme for inmated in Johannesburg on Tuesday.


He described the criticism as unfounded, saying inmates are given the same treatment as any other population group. 


“With regards to those that are criticising us and that we are giving preference to inmates above society, that criticism is unfounded because the inmates vaccinated when the population that was allowed was between 60 and above. 


“The inmates participated in that programme of 60 and above. And when it was also 50 and above they participated with everyone in society, so there was no preference. Now the reality is that we are going to go further than that, so that we are able to reach herd immunity with the Department of Health.”


Lamola said vaccine hesitancy has been an issue among prisoners.

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“There have been some WhatsApp groups moving around encouraging inmates not to participate in vaccinations and so forth. But what we have seen is that the inmates are very excited to participate in the programme. They are very jovial, they have defeated all kinds of conspiracies, they are all participating. 


“Obviously there could be those who are sceptical and so forth. But I think when they see some of the inmates participating and all of us taking the same jabs that the inmates are going to take, it will encourage many of them to come forward. There's excitement among the inmates and there's excitement among the officials.”


The Department of Correctional Services aims to vaccinate over 140 000 staff and inmates in just three weeks. 


The Health Department has given Correctional Services until 10 August to complete its vaccination programme.

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