COVID-19 vaccine arrives at Whiteman, first doses administered to essential medical and operations personnel today
By Tech. Sgt. Alexander W. Riedel, 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
/ Published December 30, 2020
WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. --
Whiteman Air Force Base medical personnel took delivery of the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine Dec. 30 with a vaccine roll out to volunteer recipients as early as this afternoon, according to base officials.
After rigorous testing and trials demonstrating the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness, the vaccine received by Whiteman AFB is offered under the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) and vaccinations will be voluntary for Airmen until achieving full FDA approval.
Initial quantities of the vaccine are limited and will be distributed on a rolling delivery basis as more vaccines become available. Along with Whiteman AFB, the Air Force Global Strike Command installations Malmstrom and F.E. Warren Air Force Base are slated to receive an initial distribution during this phase.
“Our military medical community worked diligently to prepare for this arrival we are excited and ready to execute our plan for an expedient distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Col. Jeffrey Schreiner, 509th Bomb Wing commander. “Team Whiteman has shown a strong and cohesive resolve against this virus, minimizing impact to our missions – and we will continue to follow our protective measures as we add the vaccine to our toolkit in the fight against COVID-19.”
The Department of Defense COVID-19 vaccine roll-out plan is being implemented according to a standardized and coordinated strategy that prioritizes health care and public safety personnel, starting with those at increased risk of exposure to COVID-19.
“We highly encourage our priority personnel to take the vaccine to protect their health, their families, their community, and lower the public health risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Col. Mark D. Reynolds, the commander of 509th Medical Group. “A successful, safe vaccination campaign will be an important step in lowering the public health risks associated with this pandemic and the ultimate goal for us is that DoD installations like ours are able to reduce the burden of COVID-19 disease in high-risk populations and simultaneously mitigate risk to military operations.”
In preparation for a vaccine roll out, the 509th Bomb Wing and Medical Group experts conducted small tabletop exercises throughout November and December to evaluate installation readiness to execute the COVD-19 vaccination plan, including an assessment of ultra-cold bulk storage necessary to store the vaccine.
“We will administer the vaccine according to a structured tier system,“ said Capt. Tanviben Patel, the officer in charge of Public Health with the 509th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron. “Initially, that means we focus on first responders and the healthcare workers who can opt-in to take the vaccine. Other beneficiaries will follow depending on availability.”
Regardless of ongoing vaccination efforts and immunization status, all members of Team Whiteman will still be required to wear appropriate face coverings, practice frequent and thorough hand washing and strict physical distancing to mitigate community spread, Patel said.
For updates on the availability of the vaccine for you and your family, please contact your chain of command for the most up-to-date information. For more on the vaccine received by Whiteman AFB, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines/Moderna.html.
All local updates on the coronavirus response at Whiteman AFB and frequently asked questions can also be found at www.whiteman.af.mil/coronavirus.