Prisoners will receive a Covid-19 vaccine from Monday at the 90 approved vaccination sites in correctional centres across the country.
Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola will launch the sector’s vaccination rollout programme in Johannesburg.
Correctional services department officials began receiving their jabs on Thursday at public and private vaccination sites across the country, said Lamola.
The health department has already prioritised essential workers under the second phase of its vaccination programme.
Those receiving vaccines, alongside correctional services officers, include the education and social development sectors and police and defence force members.
Lamola will also be vaccinated during the launch on Monday.
The Department of Correctional Services (DCS) has prioritised vaccination of both officials and inmates to ensure their protection and that of the general public,” said Lamola.
“Outbreaks of Covid-19 in correctional centres have a potential to spread to communities, hence the need to vaccinate both inmates and officials.”
There is a high risk of inmates being exposed to Covid-19 due to the limitations of physical distancing in correctional facilities, Lamola explained.
“Inmates also get vaccinated in line with the Nelson Mandela rules, commemorated on Nelson Mandela International Day on 18 July, which clearly stipulates that inmates should enjoy the same standards of healthcare available in the community,” he said.
“DCS remains committed to creating a safer working environment for all its officials, and the vaccination programme will contribute towards that.”