COVID-19 inoculations for SANDF start tomorrow

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Waterkloof military medical centre is one of 16 SA National Defence Force (SANDF) vaccination sites nationally that will officially open for “business” tomorrow (Thursday, 8 July) to vaccinate against COVID-19.

The COVID-19 vaccine roll-out programme, as it is titled by the national defence force’s Directorate: Corporate Communication (DCC), will inoculate “uniformed, civilian and extended members of the military community”.

The medical centre at AFB Waterkloof has long been known as the Waterkloof sickbay and provides alternate medical care to many serving and retired airmen, soldiers and their families as particularly pharmaceutical dispensing is not regularly available at the nearby 1 Military Hospital, the flagship of the SA Military Health Service (SAMHS). It, along with the other two military hospitals – in Bloemfontein’s Tempe and Cape Town’s Wynberg – cannot provide the full range of medical and associated services due to lack of performance by Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DWPI) appointed contractors.

DCC said inoculation priority will go to full-time and Reserve Force personnel with those whose musterings include healthcare top of the list. Next up is what DCC calls “persons in congregate settings”, read as those on course, followed by deployed and called up for deployment personnel. Then it’s the turn of SA Navy (SAN) personnel deployed on the “South Africa/Mozambique border”, with serving regular force personnel and Reserve Force personnel on call-up with military veterans and regular force continuation fund members next and finally, dependents according to age group.

The scheduling order and categories are subject to change based on “unanticipated unique operational emergencies that might dictate or warrant a change of priorities at short notice”. Scheduling will be done through SANDF formations and units. Members, DCC said, will not be required to register for inoculation and vaccination sites will accept military personnel walk-ins in the radius of specific sites.