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919 SOMDS begins COVID-19 vaccinations

Photo of a Medical Airman directing a patient to the next station in the COVID-19 vaccination pod.

Staff Sgt. Erich Miller, a 919th Special Operations Medical Squadron operational medicine technician, directs a newly vaccinated Airman to a waiting area at Duke Field, Florida, Feb. 1, 2021. Citizen Air Commandos were monitored for 15 minutes after receiving the shot to ensure they didn't have any vaccine complications. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dylan Gentile)

Photo of an Airman holding a sticker

Capt. Katie Saunders, 919th Special Operations Medical Squadron chief of public health, holds a COVID-19 vaccination sticker at Duke Field, Florida, Feb. 1, 2021. The 919 SOMDS distributed the stickers to vaccine recipients at the 919 Special Operations Wing’s COVID-19 vaccination site. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dylan Gentile)

Photo of an Airman getting vaccinated

Staff Sgt. Erich Miller, 919th Special Operations Medical Squadron operational medicine technician, vaccinates Tech. Sgt. David Davis, 919 SOMDS program coordinator, with the Moderna mRNA-1273 vaccine, at Duke Field, Florida, Feb. 1, 2021. Davis was the first 919 Special Operations Wing member to be vaccinated by the 919 SOMDS medical team. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dylan Gentile)

Photo of A medical Airman drawing a COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe.

A 919th Special Operations Medical Squadron Airman draws a Moderna mRNA-1273 vaccine into a syringe at Duke Field, Florida, Feb. 1, 2021. 919 SOMDS Airmen set up the wing’s COVID-19 vaccination point of distribution to provide vaccines to 919th Special Operations Wing members at Duke Field. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dylan Gentile)

DUKE FIELD, Fla. -- The 919th Special Operations Medical Squadron began vaccinating Citizen Air Commandos against COVID-19 on February 1, 2021, after receiving their first shipment of vaccines.

Air Force Reserve Command chose the 919th Special Operations Wing as one of the first wings and only one of two reserve wings co-located with active duty to receive the vaccine.

“We are so ecstatic to be one of the first few Reserve Wings vaccinating members this week,” said Lt. Col. Jenny Wylie, 919 SOMDS commander. “Although we still have a long way to go, to be at the point of a potential solution is exciting.”

The 919 SOMDS medical team worked to create a plan for vaccine distribution and storage in advance so they would be ready when the vaccine arrived.

“There has been a ton of work going into the prep for distribution,” said Wylie. “This has not been just a medical effort. It included security forces, our communications squadron, civil engineer squadron, legal and assistance from the 96th Medical Group.”

The 919 SOMDS is following the Department of Defense prioritization plan for the vaccination rollout starting with the population in the initial phase (1A). This phase includes critical medical staff and first responders.

Some Citizen Air Commandos are essential workers in the Florida panhandle and around the country and have already been vaccinated from their civilian providers.

“I’m excited we are starting vaccinations because this is the biggest step towards preventing COVID and getting back to normal,” said Capt. Katie Saunders, a 919 SOMDS public health officer and lead coordinator for the 919 SOW COVID-19 vaccinations. . “The Moderna vaccine is up to 94% effective at preventing COVID.”

The COVID-19 vaccine is still voluntary, and the 919 SOMDS has been working with unit vaccination representatives to get information out to wing members.

“The clinical trials show the vaccine is safe and effective,” said Saunders.  “Do your research and ask a qualified medical provider if you have concerns. Using medical advice, you can make the decision that is best for you.”

The 919 SOMDS medical team is providing patient education at the vaccination site, they will have a physician available to answer any questions during vaccinations.

“This has been amazing to watch the team work together to bring today’s events to fruition.” Said Wylie.

To find out if you are eligible to receive a vaccination, talk to your unit vaccine representative.

To find more information about COVID-19 vaccines online, visit www.health.mil.