UPDATE: State’s Civil Air Patrol to deliver vaccines in South Dakota; first delivery to Watertown

KELOLAND.com Original

FILE PHOTO: A vial of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is seen ahead of being administered at the Royal Victoria Hospital, on the first day of the largest immunisation programme in the British history, in Belfast, Northern Ireland December 8, 2020. Liam McBurney/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Some of the coronavirus vaccine in South Dakota will be delivered by air.

The state’s Civil Air Patrol will deliver vaccines starting this week.

The CAP believes it is the first CAP wing to deliver vaccines in the nation, according to a state CAP news release.

The South Dakota Wing (SDWG) of the CAP said it delivered vaccines to Prairie Lakes Healthcare System in Watertown on Tuesday, Dec. 15.

A crew member of a vaccine delivery flight to Prairie Lakes Healthcare System in Watertown on Dec. 15. Members of the South Dakota Wing of the Civil Air Patrol are delivering vaccines to areas of South Dakota in an agreement with the South Dakota Department of Health. Photo courtesy of the SDWG Civil Air Patrol.

The air patrol will be transporting the vaccine on behalf of the South Dakota Department of Health at the DOH request, Daniel Bucheli, the communications director for the DOH, said in an email to KELOLAND News. Locations include Rapid City, Watertown, and Mobridge, but all locations are subject to change, Bucheli said.

The South Dakota Wing (SDWG) has aircraft and aircrews located in Sioux Falls, Pierre, Rapid City, and Spearfish, and Brookings, according to the news release. The wing can deploy its six Cessna aircraft and its vans where needed to assist in emergency response and other support to local, state, tribal, and federal agencies.

“The (CAP) are delivering the Pfizer vaccine this week at refrigerated temperatures.  The vaccine is good for five days at 2-8 Celsius,” Bucheli said. “No dry ice or other hazardous materials will be on-board.”

“We are proud that the State of South Dakota asked us to help them with this life-saving mission,” Col. Nick Gengler, SDWG commander said in the CAP news release. “Since the early days of World War II, the South Dakota Civil Air Patrol has helped the state and nation with missions important to our safety and security.”

In 2013, the state’s wing help search for lost livestock after the Oct. 3 blizzard. The SDWG was cited in 2011 for its efforts during the severe flooding in the state. In 2017, SDWG Cadet Lt. Col. Joshua
of Brandon, a member of the Big Sioux Composite Squadron in Brookings, was named the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) Cadet of the Year.

The CAP has more than 400 members in its units in Sioux Falls, Tea, Brookings, Mitchell, Miller, Pierre, Rapid City, Spearfish, and Custer. CAPS are official auxiliary units of the U.S. Air Force.


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