SAMHS vaccination sites ensure countrywide coverage

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Military medical personnel are – as from today (Thursday, 8 July) – on COVID-19 inoculation duty in all nine South Africa’s provinces and ready, willing and able to assist the wider military community in its efforts to beat coronavirus.

The SA Military Health Service (SAMHS) “flagship” medical facility – I Military Hospital in Thaba Tshwane – along with the other two military medical hospitals in Free State (Tempe) and Western Cape (Wynberg) have been roped in for vaccination duty.

The sickbay at AFB Waterkloof, now known as a medical centre along with sickbays at other military bases and facilities nationally, is the second SA National Defence Force (SANDF) site in Gauteng where vaccinations will be done. Number three for the province is the SA Army Engineer Formation base at Dunnottar on the East Rand.

Cape Town’s 2 Military Hospital joins three other military facilities in Western Cape as COVID-19 vaccination sites. They are the health centres at Youngsfield, which houses a SAMHS area military health unit, Oudtshoorn (Infantry School) and the Institute for Maritime Medicine (IMM) in Simon’s Town.

SAMHS personnel will be on duty at the Bluff sickbay in Durban and 8 SA Infantry Battalion’s Ladysmith base which also houses a SAMHS medical centre.

Two sites in Eastern Cape will do COVID-19 vaccinations. They are, according to SANDF Directorate: Corporate Communication (DCC), the sickbays at Mthatha and Gqeberha.

SAMHS Free State health centre joins 3 Military Hospital as the central province’s two military COVID-19 vaccination sites.

One military medical facility each will be a vaccination site for the remaining three provinces. Mpumalanga’s will be at the SAMHS Nelspruit health centre with North West’s at SAMHS Potchefstroom facility and Northern Cape’s at the Kimberley health centre.

“Inoculation priority” according to DCC, will go to full-time and Reserve Force personnel with those whose musterings include healthcare top of the list. Next up are “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.