By Peterson-Schriever Garrison Public Affairs
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — 21st Medical Group clinic personnel began administering Peterson-Schriever Garrison’s first round of COVID-19 vaccinations to first responders, who are within the Defense Department’s Phase 1A priority group, Jan. 5.
In December, the DoD announced its deliberate and phased plan to distribute and administer the initial and subsequent allocations of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The vaccine is the result of Operation Warp Speed, a national initiative to accelerate the development, production and distribution of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics.
“With the vaccine now available, we have our first opportunity to go on the offensive against COVID-19,” said Maj. Taylor Timberlake, P-S GAR public health emergency officer. “Based on initial studies, the vaccine showed to be quite effective against development of symptomatic COVID-19 as well as protecting against the more serious symptoms that had been placing people into the hospitals. With widespread vaccination, we should see decreases in hospitalization rates and ideally against infection and transmission rates.”
Over the next several months, P-S GAR’s 21st MDG will continue to administer the vaccine using a phased approach to ensure first responders, mission-essential personnel, deploying members and individuals with serious illnesses are the first to receive the vaccine.
With the first round of vaccinations underway, another obstacle medical professionals face is maintaining the integrity of the vaccine while also not wasting any doses.
“The COVID-19 Moderna vaccine is a delicate vaccine that requires strict storage and thawing procedures,” stated Lt. Col. Timothy J. Coker, P-S GAR chief of medical staff. “In addition, once a vial is punctured, we have to use all doses within six hours or we have to discard them. We are scheduling patients to better plan thawing procedures and utilizing a standby process to ensure zero waste of vaccine doses.”
Information about ongoing vaccinations at Peterson AFB, Schriever AFB and Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station will be shared at www.peterson.spaceforce.mil and on the respective installation Facebook pages.
For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine to include safety information and side effects, visit the CDC at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html and the FDA https://www.fda.gov/emergency-preparedness-and-response/.