is now helping to vaccinate people in remote communities. It is the logical way to get this done.
I know there are people who will say, "What do you need to be vaccinated for if you live hundreds of kilometres away from anyone else?" The answer to that of course is that these people do travel - and they often travel hundreds of kilometres.
The RFDS is an extraordinary organisation. It is a charity. It is not a government service. There is government which goes into it of course but it has to fund raise. It provides medical services to people in remote areas, really remote areas.
People who have never lived in a remote area really have no idea what it is like in those places. I have only ever visited two "stations" and both of those are within a day's travel of small townships - places the size of a hamlet or tiny village in the UK. There are no medical services in those places either. You would need to go even further to get to something like that.
So, the medical service flies in. It is more than a medical service too. It is a vital part of the life of the people in remote areas. Most stations have a permanent landing strip and it is one of those things which will be well maintained. It will be well maintained because the lives of people in remote areas depend on it. We saw the landing strips at the stations we visited and the precautions taken to make sure that a plane could come in at any time. We heard how people will travel for hours for non-urgent medical appointments when the RFDS is making a routine rather than emergency landing.
The medical staff who visit those locations do some remarkable things too. They often take on far more responsibilities than medical people in urban areas. It is easier now perhaps when there are satellite connections and communications are easier but they still have to take on responsibilities that their city counterparts would not want to risk.
Other people have to take on responsibilities too. People with limited medical knowledge and nothing more than a first aid certificate have had to do things which would terrify most of us - and they do it because there is nobody else available. If they don't do what is asked of them somebody might die.
When I was a mere kitten and we were living in a remote area we heard a true story of one of the local doctors operating on the side of a dirt road under the light of car headlights. The man he operated on was the man who told the story.
Would that happen again? Perhaps. Anything can happen out there in a remote area. It isn't what people want to do. It is what they must sometimes do.
And those remote areas have "indigenous" or "first nations" people who are often even more vulnerable because they don't mix as much and their lifestyle often means they have poor health. Their diet is often poor and diabetes, kidney disease and other issues are of major concern. If Covid19 reaches those areas there would be major issues. The authorities are doing all they can to prevent that. Preventing that means getting people vaccinated, something the RFDS can help to do.
Someone grumbled yesterday about having to travel several kilometres to a vaccination centre and wait. I was happy to have to go to the same centre without the use of a car. It was all much easier than having to wait for the RFDS to fly in and then travel a hundred kilometres or more to get a potentially life saving jab.