The SA Military Health Service (SAMHS) sickbay at AFB Waterkloof in Centurion serves a portion of the largest military community in Gauteng. Proof of this comes with a COVID-19 vaccination rate of up to 500 uniformed and civilian defence personnel daily.
Military medical personnel are manning 18 sites at either military hospitals, sickbays (also known as “health centres”) as well as the Institute for Maritime Medicine (IMM) in Simon’s Town nationally and have been on post since 8 July.
Captain Alita Nel, nursing officer in charge of the Waterkloof sickbay, said between 300 and 500 people were reporting for jabs a day at the base, one of two serving the wider defence community in Gauteng. The second is at Dunnottar military base on the East Rand.
“People are coming out in numbers to be vaccinated,” she said adding the programme and speed of vaccinations was timeous, efficient and effective. A thorough administrative schedule before and after vaccination ensures personal details are captured and “vaxxed” personnel, in addition to a slightly sore arm, receive a vaccination card as proof.
At both Waterkloof and Dunnottar, all COVID-19 protocols are enforced. Lieutenant Colonel Maud Bopape, project leader for the two Gauteng sites said safety compliance, including masks, regular handwashing, using hand sanitiser, keeping a safe physical distance, mandatory temperature checks as well as COVID-19 screening questionnaires and avoiding gatherings were all in place and running at both.
Major (Dr) Pitso Andrew Mashangwane, site vaccination roll-out co-ordinator at Dunnottar said: “Currently we see dependents of Regular Force personnel, military veterans and Regular Force medical continuation fund members aged 35 to 49 and will soon start vaccinating the 18 to 34 age group”.
Since vaccinations started at the base near Nigel “no undesirable reactions” have been reported.