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Scott AFB begins COVID-19 vaccinations for DOD personnel  

Master Sgt. Renee Cheatham, 375th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron aeromedical evacuation technician, receives one the first COVID-19 inoculations on Scott Air Force Base, Ill., Jan 6, 2021. The COVID-19 vaccines will be available on a voluntary basis in which early vaccination participation is highly encouraged for priority personnel; masks and physical distancing will still be necessary until a large proportion of the population is vaccinated and the vaccine is proven to provide long-term protection. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jordan Castelan)

Master Sgt. Renee Cheatham, 375th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron aeromedical evacuation technician, receives one the first COVID-19 inoculations on Scott Air Force Base, Ill., Jan 6, 2021. The COVID-19 vaccines will be available on a voluntary basis in which early vaccination participation is highly encouraged for priority personnel; masks and physical distancing will still be necessary until a large proportion of the population is vaccinated and the vaccine is proven to provide long-term protection. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jordan Castelan)

Airman 1st Class James Gehne, 375th Civil Engineer Squadron firefighter, receives the first COVID-19 inoculation on Scott Air Force Base, Ill., Jan 6, 2021. Vaccines combating COVID-19 use inactivated virus genetics to strengthen the immunity properties of the receiver while still making it impossible to contract COVID-19 from the inoculation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jordan Castelan)

Airman 1st Class James Gehne, 375th Civil Engineer Squadron firefighter, receives the first COVID-19 inoculation on Scott Air Force Base, Ill., Jan 6, 2021. Vaccines combating COVID-19 use inactivated virus genetics to strengthen the immunity properties of the receiver while still making it impossible to contract COVID-19 from the inoculation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jordan Castelan)

From left: Airman 1st Class James Gehne, 375th Civil Engineer Squadron firefighter, Master Sgt. Renee Cheatham, 375th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron technician, and Senior Airman Matthew Smith, 375th Security Forces patrolman, are the first three members of Team Scott to receive a COVID-19 inoculation on Scott Air Force Base, Ill., Jan 6, 2021. The Department of Defense prioritizes personnel to receive the vaccines based on Center of Disease Control guidance and the DoD COVID Task Force’s assessment of unique DoD mission requirements. The DoD Prioritization Schema prioritizes those providing direct medical care, maintaining essential national security and installation functions, deploying forces and beneficiaries at the highest risk for developing serious illness before other members of the DoD population. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jordan Castelan)

From left: Airman 1st Class James Gehne, 375th Civil Engineer Squadron firefighter, Master Sgt. Renee Cheatham, 375th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron technician, and Senior Airman Matthew Smith, 375th Security Forces patrolman, are the first three members of Team Scott to receive a COVID-19 inoculation on Scott Air Force Base, Ill., Jan 6, 2021. The Department of Defense prioritizes personnel to receive the vaccines based on Center of Disease Control guidance and the DoD COVID Task Force’s assessment of unique DoD mission requirements. The DoD Prioritization Schema prioritizes those providing direct medical care, maintaining essential national security and installation functions, deploying forces and beneficiaries at the highest risk for developing serious illness before other members of the DoD population. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jordan Castelan)

Airman 1st Class James Gehne, 375th Civil Engineer Squadron firefighter, second from the left, Master Sgt. Renee Cheatham, 375th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron aeromedical evacuation technician, middle, and Senior Airman Matthew Smith, 375th Security Forces patrolman, second from the right, are congratulated by Chief Master Sgt. Chuck Frizzell, 375th Air Mobility Wing command chief, left, and Col. Angela Ochoa, 375th AMW vice-commander, right, for being the first three members of Team Scott to receive a COVID-19 inoculation on Scott Air Force Base, Ill., Jan 6, 2021. The Department of Defense prioritizes personnel to receive the vaccines based on Center of Disease Control guidance and the DoD COVID Task Force’s assessment of unique DoD mission requirements. The DoD Prioritization Schema prioritizes those providing direct medical care, maintaining essential national security and installation functions, deploying forces and beneficiaries at the highest risk for developing serious illness before other members of the DoD population. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jordan Castelan)

Airman 1st Class James Gehne, 375th Civil Engineer Squadron firefighter, second from the left, Master Sgt. Renee Cheatham, 375th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron aeromedical evacuation technician, middle, and Senior Airman Matthew Smith, 375th Security Forces patrolman, second from the right, are congratulated by Chief Master Sgt. Chuck Frizzell, 375th Air Mobility Wing command chief, left, and Col. Angela Ochoa, 375th AMW vice-commander, right, for being the first three members of Team Scott to receive a COVID-19 inoculation on Scott Air Force Base, Ill., Jan 6, 2021. The Department of Defense prioritizes personnel to receive the vaccines based on Center of Disease Control guidance and the DoD COVID Task Force’s assessment of unique DoD mission requirements. The DoD Prioritization Schema prioritizes those providing direct medical care, maintaining essential national security and installation functions, deploying forces and beneficiaries at the highest risk for developing serious illness before other members of the DoD population. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jordan Castelan)

Multiples doses of a COVID-19 vaccine are prepared for initial use on Scott Air Force Base, Ill., Jan. 6, 2021. Scott AFB administered the first three doses of the vaccine to three enlisted Airmen, who are first responders, in accordance with guidance from the Center of Disease Control and the Department of Defense. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jordan Castelan)

Multiples doses of a COVID-19 vaccine are prepared for initial use on Scott Air Force Base, Ill., Jan. 6, 2021. Scott AFB administered the first three doses of the vaccine to three enlisted Airmen, who are first responders, in accordance with guidance from the Center of Disease Control and the Department of Defense. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jordan Castelan)

Scott Air Force Base, Ill. – The 375th Medical Group began administering a limited supply of the COVID-19 vaccine today to first responders and healthcare workers as outlined by a Department of Defense distribution plan. 

This plan establishes the prioritization of vaccinations for front line medical caregivers, mission essential caretakers, deploying forces, and members at the highest risk for developing a severe illness from COVID-19.

Personnel who are first to receive this initial, limited amount include military, civilians, contractors, students or other hospital non-clinical staff who support patient care or who have a high risk of exposure to COVID-19.  Also included in the phase 1 category are those who provide critical national capabilities, those deploying to overseas locations, and other essential support personnel as identified by leadership.

Col. Richard Woodruff, 375th Medical Group commander, explained that the base will be distributing the vaccinations in an orderly manner and that it will be worked through unit leadership. Appointments will be allotted and personnel will sign up for their spots based on a fair share equity to ensure the limited supply is used appropriately.

As more vaccines are made available, the base will move toward phase 2 distribution for all high risk beneficiaries, and then phase 3 includes the rest of the healthy population, according to the DOD schema.  This may take several months to receive and distribute he added.

“We do encourage every member of Team Scott to ultimately receive the COVID-19 vaccine as it becomes available to you according to the phase you fall under,” said Woodruff.  “Right now we are working with a limited supply and will keep everyone posted on the process as we move forward. If you have any questions or concerns, please first work those through your chain of command so we consolidate the questions and answer them appropriately.”
Personnel who are able to receive the vaccine from an off-base provider are welcomed to do so, but it is recommended that those who are enrolled at a Military Medical Treatment Facility should go there for the vaccine as appropriate.  All vaccinations are currently provided to those volunteering to receive it during each phase of administration. It is not a mandated health requirement at this time.

The DOD has stated that the COVID-19 vaccine is an advanced tool to reduce related illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths. The DOD also stated that the vaccines it has secured have been demonstrated to be safe and effective in large phase clinical trials, have shown to be manufactured and distributed safely and securely and have been authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use.

Throughout this and the immediate future, the practice of social distancing and wear of a mask will still be required. The CDC recommends following all local and national safety guidance in addition to being vaccinated to receive the highest level of protection from COVID-19.