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SANDF next in line for Covid vaccines

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SANDF spokesperson Siphiwe Dlamini said there were 16 vaccination sites identified for the purpose of inoculating uniformed, civilian and extended members of the military community across the country.

File picture: Masi Losi

SOLDIERS are set to be next in line for the vaccination roll-out, starting on Thursday when the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) launches its Covid-19 vaccine roll-out programme.

SANDF spokesperson Siphiwe Dlamini said on Wednesday that the launch would take place at the Waterkloof military medical centre, which is situated inside Waterkloof Air Force Base in Pretoria.

Dlamini said there were 16 vaccination sites identified for the purpose of inoculating uniformed, civilian and extended members of the military community across the country.

“The voluntary inoculation programme will be rolled out for all willing SANDF members and the military community,” he said.

Dlamini said order of priority would be given to regular force members, including the reserve force members on call-up.

They will be scheduled and categorised in the following order: health-care workers; persons in congregate settings such as military courses, deployed and deploying members; South African Navy members deployed on the South African-Mozambique border; serving regular force members and reserve force members on call-up; military veterans on regular force medical continuation fund and dependants; and according to their age group as prescribed by the Department of Health.

Dlamini said the order of scheduling and categories was subject to change based on unanticipated unique operational emergencies that could dictate or warrant a change of priorities at short notice.

“Scheduling will be done through the various SANDF formations and units. Members will not be required to register for inoculation.”

He also said the various vaccination sites would accept military personnel walk-ins stationed within the radius of the identified vaccination site.

“The South African National Defence Force encourages all military community members to inoculate against the rampant Covid-19 virus in the quest to promote good health to advance combat readiness in defence of the sovereignty of the republic and its citizens as mandated by the constitution of the country,” Dlamini said.

The vaccination of the soldiers follows that of the police, which started on Monday.

Acting Health Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane previously said work was under way to finalise the date for vaccination of soldiers and prison warders.

Kubayi-Ngubane said, in terms of the processes, they should start with soldiers this week and that they hoped by the end of last week to have an indication for the start date for inoculation in Correctional Services.

On Tuesday it was reported that National Prosecuting Authority head Shamila Batohi said the prosecuting agency was engaging the Health Department for the agency to be regarded as essential services and to be moved up in terms of vaccinations.

Political Bureau

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