The initial shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine arrived early this week at Kingsley Field. On Wednesday, February 10 and Friday, February 12 all 100 doses of the shipment were administered to Kingsley Field personnel by the 173rd Medical Group.
A call for volunteers went out on Tuesday morning. “I feel like we went into it not having many appointments being scheduled at first, and then it was a massive influx of people and now we have a waiting list of members wanting to receive it,” said 1st Lt. Jaime Nealy, a nurse with the 173rd MDG.
Tech. Sgt. Brandy Halvorsen and Staff Sgt. Matthew Hartwig, 173rd MDG aerospace medical technicians, along with Nealy, were responsible for administering the doses. “It has been an amazing experience to help the base press forward,” said Nealy.
One of the first volunteers to receive the vaccine was 173rd Fighter Wing Commander, Colonel Jeff Edwards.
“I got vaccinated because I believe it’s the right thing to do,” said Edwards. “I believe it will make a difference for our country, for our military to get vaccinated, and I believe in the science and research behind it.”
Edwards encouraged all of his Airmen who have questions about the vaccine and whether to volunteer for it to view the local COVID Vaccine Q&A video put together with the help of the 173rd Medical Group.
“It’s an outstanding video that really captures the essence of the science behind it as well as the risk factors,” said Edwards. “I believe it is important for everyone to know that the vaccine has been tested and to understand the percentage of adverse reactions is very, very low overall. The benefits, in my personal opinion, greatly outweigh the small risks associated with that.”
Edwards said another reason he feels the vaccine is important is to ensure mission readiness. “Our duty as a military is to be ready to serve our country and to serve our nation,” said Edwards. “It is going to help our readiness, and it is going to help our communities.”
The Medical Group is not sure exactly when the next set of initial vaccine doses will arrive but emphasizes they will communicate to base personnel as soon as they find out.
“We haven’t received word yet,” said Nealy. “We only found out about this set of vaccine four days ahead of time. But we do know that when they are sending out the first dose that they are planning on giving us the second dose when it is due.”