COVID-19 has claimed the lives of 14 emergency services workers in Joburg.

But they recently started receiving vaccinations to put an end to this tragedy.

Daily Sun spoke to Joburg emergency services management acting chief Rapulane Monageng, who received his jab at Hillbrow Clinic.

Along with acting police chief Angie Mokasi, he heeded Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize’s call for front-line workers to get jabbed.

Monageng said although some people were scared of the vaccine, his only fear was side effects. However, they ended up being mild, with the worst thing he experienced being very thirsty.

“I wanted to be the last to receive a vaccine because workers under me are in touch with patients every day,” he said.

“But they wanted me to lead and be the first and their wish was my command.”

“I’m glad my body is now ready to fight. Should I get infected, I will not get severely ill. Stats show we’re in the third wave. I urge people to register for the vaccine because government is doing this for free.

“We can’t see, smell or taste Covid-19. Therefore, anyone next to you is a suspect until proven otherwise.”

He said between March and December 2020, 124 emergency workers became infected.

“Right from the beginning, we ensured that workers had PPEs to keep them safe. We couldn’t compromise on that. Workers who unfortunately got infected were exposed outside of work. We immediately activated our health safety team to assist workers and their families.”

Monageng has been leading the city’s joint operations committee, which was established after the virus hit our shores. The centre identifies risk areas and coordinates food donations, community awareness and testing.

“There were some challenges along the way and we had to change systems to ensure there was no contact among workers,” he said.