The Eastern Cape leg of the South African Police Services (SAPS) vaccine drive kicked off in Gqeberha on Thursday.

The aim is to vaccinate 24 000 SAPS personnel, which include police, reservists, administration staff and interns.

Eastern Cape MEC for Safety, Weziwe Tikana-Gxothiwe, was the first to get the shot at the Mount road vaccine site.

Fifteen sites have been set up around the province to ensure no law enforcement agent is left out.

“We want to ensure that all our personal get the vaccine, for a long time they have been asking us to get the jab after being exposed to the virus for so long, so this is a huge relief for many of them. We will be going throughout the province to ensure that all our police officials get the jab. This is really exciting for us that at last, this process has started for our police teams too,” says Tikana-Gxothiwe.

Provincial Commissioner Lieutenant General, Liziwe Ntshinga, was one of the first police officers to be diagnosed with COVID-19 last year.

Today she also got the shot and encouraged other officials to also get vaccinated.

“As someone who knows how badly this virus affects the body, I wanted to make sure that I am one of the first to get the vaccine. I am feeling great, no side effects at all. I want to encourage the public officials to also get the vaccination because we are front-line workers and are so exposed daily, so it’s best we get the vaccination to protect ourselves and our families. People must not fear the vaccine, there is nothing bad it will do to your body,” she says.

Other police officers have also expressed relief and joy after getting vaccinated.

“I am feeling very good after getting the vaccine, I have no complications at all. I want to encourage my fellow colleagues to come out in their numbers and get the vaccine too. Because it’s the best way to protect themselves against this virus,” said one police officer.

“I just got the vaccine and I’m feeling fine. I think other police officials should come out in numbers to get this vaccine, it’s the best thing to do,” added another officer.

The Eastern Cape Safety MEC says there are plans to also vaccinate traffic officers during this period.

Eastern Cape SAPS vaccination drive proceeding well: