Shared Accord vaccination drive sees 350 plus pets inoculated in a day


People in KwaZulu-Natal’s Ntambanana area and their pets were among the first to benefit from humanitarian taskings in Exercise Shared Accord.

The joint United States (US)/South Africa military exercise now underway following a COVID-19 interruption runs until end July and has humanitarian and tactical components.

A free-of-charge rabies vaccination drive in the rural KwaZulu-Natal settlement and surrounds saw SA Military Health Service (SAMHS) animal health practitioners and nursing staff, assisted by Americans with similar musterings, vaccinate 300 dogs and 54 cats against rabies on day one of an animal health campaign set to run in the area for a week.

Apart from the practicality of curbing rabies, the vaccination drive includes educating people on the dangers of the disease. This is apt in the Ntambanana area where a two-year-old died after contracting rabies.

Other healthcare support to be provided by the American and South African military health teams in the Umhlathuze local municipality, including parts of Empangeni and Richards Bay, are dental and optometric services.

The tactical side of Shared Accord is geared to hone drills and skills needed in the execution of peace support operations (PSOs). In addition to cargo handling at Air Force Base (AFB) Bloemspruit in Free State and Richards Bay airport, military personnel from both participating countries are expected to sharpen maritime protection skills for use against conventional and asymmetric threats at sea and in harbours and air support operations.

Confirmation of an American military presence in South Africa came with the arrival of a USAF (United States Air Force) C-17 Globemaster III heavy lifter (tail number 60005) on the strength of the 105th Air Wing at the Free State air base on Monday. When approached for information on the US involvement in Shared Accord 2022, the US Embassy in Pretoria deferred to the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) as exercise host. At the time of publishing, the rabies vaccination drive is the only information yet released by the hosts on Shared Accord.

defenceWeb understands there are around 45 US personnel in South Africa for Shared Accord 2022