GAUTENG Police Commissioner Lieutenant-General Elias Mawela was one of the first officers to get vaccinated on Friday, 9 July.

Mawela led the provincial police vaccination launch at the Pretoria Moot Police Station in Tshwane.

“I’m excited. In Gauteng, we will now have more boots on the ground.

“Once all our members are jabbed, we will be ready to fight crime anytime.”

Mawela said they have already lost 92 members to Covid-19 and over 700 tested positive.

“Others have recovered and a lot of members are in isolation.

“We have identified 15 sites approved by our head office where police will be vaccinated,” he said.

Gauteng community safety MEC Faith Mazibuko said they were excited police officers were getting vaccinated.

“These are our frontline workers. They interact with people daily and are at high risk.

“With their job, they end up touching and handcuffing people. We were worried why they were not included, but it is now their turn,” she said.

Mazibuko said almost 37 000 of all law enforcement officers would be vaccinated at the end of the programme, including support staff.

The police’s medical scheme principal officer Neo Khauoe said: “This launch is important for us because it addresses our active members.

“We have 140 000 active members. We intend to vaccinate 180 000 employees at the police service, including anyone who is employed under the SAPS.

“We need to make sure these members are vaccinated.”

Gauteng Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union chairman Vusimuzi Tshabalala said: “We’ve lost so many members and others are sick due to Covid-19.

“We’re happy this day has finally come. We want to encourage all our members to take the vaccine.”

Deputy president of South African Policing Union Thabo Matsose said: “These are frontline workers. They deserve to get vaccinated. We are encouraging all members to be vaccinated.”

Constable Munyadziwa Ramovha said she was happy.

“I have been worried I would get the virus. I will protect my family and the people I interact with at work,” she said.

Ramovha said she was infected with Covid-19 in December and it was a hard moment for her.