On Wednesday 17 February the South African Air Force’s (SAAF’s) sole Pilatus PC-12, from 41 Squadron at Air Force Base Waterkloof, delivered the first bulk batch of COVID-19 vaccines to the Western Cape at Air Force Base Ysterplaat.
The 8000 vaccines are the first to arrive in Cape Town and were escorted by the South African Police Services (SAPS) to the Groote Schuur and Tygerberg Hospitals, the SANDF said.
At 11:40, the vaccine arrived safely on board the PC-12. Bio Cair transported it, and Air Force Base Ysterplaat ground crew loaded the vaccines into a DPD Laser truck, a sister company of Bio Cair. Various high-risk force sections in the SA Police Service, led by Brigadier JC Zandberg, head of the Operational Command Centre, Western Cape, were tasked to escort it to Groote Schuur Hospital and Tygerberg Hospital, respectively.
Zandberg said that she was in awe to be a part of this. She advised that her team has been ready since 9 February when the vaccines were initially supposed to arrive. But even with the delay, she said, it’s fantastic to be part of something that will provide relief for the people during this pandemic.
The Officer Commanding of Air Force Base Ysterplaat, Colonel MC Moatshe said, “The South African Government could not have chosen a better stakeholder as an entry point of the vaccine to the Western Cape – the base is very strategically placed as it is close to the Cape Metropolis. Also, it offers ample security to mobilise the convoy safely.”