LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. -- Medics at the 19th Medical Group received the first shipment of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine here Jan. 13, and inoculations are scheduled to begin Jan. 14.
Distribution of the vaccine will follow DoD’s phased priority plan. The first allocation of the vaccine will be used to immunize first responders and front line medical workers, those who provide essential national security and installation functions, personnel slated for deployment overseas within the next three months, and Military and Civilian Airmen at the highest risk for developing severe illness from COVID-19.
“Our Ready Medics are prepared to rapidly execute a well-developed COVID-19 vaccination plan,” said Col. John Schutte, 19th Airlift Wing commander. “Their tireless efforts and dedication to preserving our force and mission readiness have underwritten our ability to continue to deliver agile combat airlift despite the challenges of the pandemic.”
As the distribution is carried out, information on the timeline of subsequent phases will be provided through command channels, the installation’s website, and social media platforms.
“This vaccine is a critical addition to current public health measures,” said Maj. (Dr.) Christyn Beal Randolph, the Public Health Emergency Officer. “We encourage all eligible personnel to receive the vaccine when it is offered. This will lower the public health risks, helping to protect the community, and preserve our ability to accomplish the mission. It’s a critical step on the path to end the pandemic.”
The vaccines will be offered initially on a voluntary basis. After first responders and healthcare workers are vaccinated, Schutte will be in line and encourages others to do so.
“The arrival of this vaccine represents the beginning of a turning point in our battle against the virus,” said Schutte. “I am grateful that an end to this fight is within sight, as we continue to do everything we can to help stop the spread of the virus.”
A second dose of the vaccine is required to further increase immunity. As schedules for additional shipments become available, members will be contacted through the same channels to receive their second vaccination shot.
“The health of our community remains our top priority,” said Maj. (Dr.) Beal Randolph. “All DoD personnel should continue to wear appropriate masks, practice physical distancing, wash hands, and follow restriction of movement guidance to protect our safety, as a large portion of the population will need to be vaccinated before COVID-19 risks diminish.”
For the most up-to-date information on the vaccine visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/index.html