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Military union demands army health workers be added to vaccination programme

04 March 2021 - 19:54 By belinda pheto
Sandu has demanded that military health workers be included in the current vaccination programme for health workers.
Sandu has demanded that military health workers be included in the current vaccination programme for health workers.
Image: Gallo Images/Foto24/Alet Pretorius

The South African National Defence Union (Sandu) has asked for drastic action to be taken against those who failed to ensure military health workers were included in the current rollout of the Sisonke vaccination programme.

In a statement, the union alleged that the SA Military Health Services (SAMHS) had failed to register military health workers with the Sisonke programme, which is managed by the national health department.

“Military health workers are daily exposed and deployed to Covid-19 hotspots unvaccinated though they have the right to be included in the vaccination programme. This constitutes a grave and unnecessary, as well as irresponsible, endangerment to the lives of the military health-care workers,” the union said in a statement.

The union said because of the seriousness of the situation, it has instructed attorneys to demand immediate rectification of the situation within three days.

TimesLIVE has seen the letter and, among other things, the union alleges military health workers were not allowed to register for any Covid-19 vaccination programme outside the department of defence, for security reasons.

Though the union clearly states that no such instruction was made, it did indicate that it was minuted during a meeting that military health workers should not sign up for any vaccination outside the department.

“One of our client’s members did try to register on the Sisonke programme registration portal but as soon as the member indicated the employer as the department of defence, they were blocked on the system,” reads one of the claims contained in the letter to the department.

The union demanded military health workers be included in the programme so they can also be vaccinated and threatened to approach the high court on an urgent basis, should the department fail to rectify the situation and register the health workers on the Sisonke programme.

The SANDF was not immediately able to comment.