As the Department of Defense implements its standardized and coordinated plan for distributing and administrating COVID-19 vaccines, the 412th Medical Group at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., is preparing to launch a local version of the DOD plan; and once vaccines start arriving, medical personnel will begin vaccinating personnel in phases.
The Department of Defense has begun to distribute COVID-19 vaccines to Military Medical Treatment Facilities worldwide, and the 412th Medical Group is prepared to administer the vaccine once it arrives.
Personnel will be vaccinated in phases according to the DOD’s prioritization plan which mirrors the Center of Disease Control and Prevention national plan.
The first phase will focus on healthcare providers, emergency services and public safety personnel. The next phase will focus on essential workers, then high risk-beneficiaries and then the general population.
The Edwards’ phased vaccination plan will be administered as more doses become available. The vaccine will be available to all active and reserve component, TRICARE Prime and TRICARE Select beneficiaries, DOD civilians and contract personnel authorized to receive immunizations from the DOD.
“The DOD vaccination guidance parallels CDC guidance that prioritizes vaccinations for groups at higher risk of encountering COVID19, or who’s falling ill could have impacts in critical areas,” said Lt. Col. Duane Robinson, Chief of Aerospace Medicine. “It prioritizes emergency first responders, medical personnel, and personnel deploying in the near future. Additionally, personnel in critical infrastructure work, such as command and control or sensitive defense positions, will be vaccinated before the general population.”
Currently, the vaccine is offered under an Emergency Use Authorization, and vaccinations will be voluntary. There is no requirement to get the vaccine.
“Both the Pfizer and the Moderna vaccines were tested for safety and efficacy using rigorous scientific protocols. No short-cuts were made,” said Capt. Nicholas Singh-Miller, Edwards Immunization Clinic Director. “No specific safety concerns were identified in either study that precluded emergency use authorization.”
Edwards officials reiterated the requirement to continue to wear appropriate PPE and practice physical distancing.
“A large portion of the community will need to be vaccinated before COVID-19 risks diminish. We still need to wear appropriate masks, practice physical distancing, wash hands, and follow counter-COVID-19 behaviors to protect our safety,” said Lt. Col. Michelle Wueste, Edwards Public Health Emergency Officer.
The CDC says the COVID-19 vaccine will be an important tool to end the pandemic. Additional information, including how the vaccine works and safety monitoring, can be found at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/index.html. For the latest Edwards AFB COVID-19 information, visit www.edwards.af.mil/coronavirus.