SANEF’s Secretary-General Mahlatse Mahlase says government has informed them that journalists will receive the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as all media houses submit information regarding their employees’ age and regions where they are stationed.
“Government has agreed that journalists will be vaccinated and now we are making plans to make sure that this becomes a reality. The work has already started actually. It started yesterday (Monday). We have sent out surveys by the Department of Health where media companies are being asked the number of employees in those companies, and also just a survey indication of just how old these employees are. This of course is to allow for the department to be clear in terms of how many jabs need to be allocated to journalists” says Mahlatse Mahlase.
The rollout will also include community media and freelance journalists. Mahlase says this follows lengthy discussions with the Department of Health. Mahlase added the industry faces immense challenges as they navigate reporting from the frontlines of the pandemic.
SANEF is concerned that without a plan to vaccinate journalists, they will continue to get infected by the deadly coronavirus.
Like other frontline workers, journalists have risked their lives every day for the past 16 months, working throughout the pandemic as part of their responsibility to the public.