Hurlburt Medical Group Receives COVID-19 Vaccine

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Edward Coddington
  • 1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs

Medics now have their biggest weapon against coronavirus due to the recent delivery of the COVID-19 vaccine at Hurlburt Field, Florida, Jan. 7, 2021.

Paramedics, firefighters, security forces and other first responders are among the first members on base to receive the vaccine.

“Our first shipment is the Moderna vaccine, but we will likely get to the point that we have multiple manufacturers depending on supply and availability,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Ashley Duray, COVID-19 vaccine coordinator with the 1st Special Operations Medical Group. “The long-term effects of COVID-19 are unknown, so this vaccine provides security for you, your family, friends, and co-workers. The more people we vaccinate, the less risk we pose to the people around us.”

The first vaccinated patients are in the jobs most likely to come into contact with a COVID-19 patient, and are essential to the protection and operational posture of the base.

“We have prioritized all units on base according to the Defense Health Agency Population Schema, which determines how the vaccine will be allocated,” said Duray. “The Executive Battle Staff will stand up and notify units that are next up in the prioritization. Once the date and time for that unit are announced, members will filter through the point of distribution, which will include a check-in area, education, vaccination, and observation area.”

Air Commandos with the 1st Special Operations Wing critical to the planning and execution of specialized and contingency operations in support of national priorities are also among the first members slated to receive the vaccine.

“Our team feels very prepared to begin distribution and we are very excited to be part of this historic event,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Justin Read, point of distribution manager with the 1st SOMDG. “I strongly believe the vaccine will pay dividends by having fewer infections.”

The point of distribution team is comprised of 30-40 Airmen who have continuously trained and prepared for the vaccine’s arrival. The team has meticulously planned for this operation since November, ensuring that all logistical avenues, to include storage, training, shipping and receiving processes, are perfected to ensure the success of this new tool in the fight against COVID-19.

“Ultimately, we need to vaccinate 60 percent of the population in order to achieve herd-immunity, which will help protect those who are unable to receive the vaccine,” said Duray. “We will still need to wear masks, social distance, and wash our hands for the months to come as we get more and more people vaccinated.”

According to the Center for Disease Control, the Moderna vaccine is given in two doses and is recommended for those 18 years and older. Based on evidence from clinical trials, the vaccine was 94.1% effective at preventing laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 illness in people who received both doses and who had no evidence of being previously infected.

“This vaccine is what will eventually get us back to our pre COVID-19 lives,” said Duray.