TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – On Jan. 8, 2021, military and Department of Defense civilian personnel reported to Travis Air Force Base Fitness Center to receive the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
U.S. Air Force Col. (Dr.) Daniel Murray, 60th Air Mobility Wing public health emergency officer, master clinician, was just one of many Travis AFB medical professionals on site to assist with COVID-19 vaccine efforts.
“This event was coordinated by several teams who have been working for months to prepare to make sure we could provide safe, rapid vaccination of personnel with the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Murray. “With the tremendous preparation they made coordinating across the wing, we were able to begin distribution of the vaccine shortly after receiving it, ensure our safety protocols were effective, and that our process was effective for rapid distribution.”
Eligible personnel that volunteered to receive the vaccine coordinated through their respective units before Friday’s mass inoculation.
“Rapidly protecting people with this very effective vaccine will save lives and prevent suffering,” said Murray. “From a military and medical standpoint, it will also stem the tide of COVID-19 cases and ensure that military and medical operations can continue. This will relieve the strain on the hospital systems and improve people’s access to health care for other health conditions.”
The line nearly snaked around the base Fitness Center building before doubling back on itself and continuing around the running track as volunteer participants queued up to receive the vaccine—waiting times stretched up to two hours.
“Wait times were long. Lines were long, but that just means people are willing to do their part,” said Col. Corey Simmons, 60th AMW commander. “I’m incredibly proud of the teams of Airmen and medical staff that got after this massive task and made it happen.”
Upon entry into the building, manpower from David Grant USAF Medical Center screened each individual, annotated each member's records and administered the doses. After receiving the vaccination, personnel were required to wait in the area for a 15-minute safety period.
“I made the choice to receive the vaccine because I want to keep my family, Team Travis and the community safe… We all want out of this pandemic, and we can better take care of each other by first taking care of ourselves,” said Simmons.
Travis AFB is administering the COVID-19 vaccine in accordance with the DOD distribution plan. The plan is designed to implement a standardized and coordinated effort by prioritizing, distributing and administering the vaccine in a phased approach. The vaccine is a two-dose regimen, separated by about four weeks between doses.
“Our medical professionals at DGMC and leadership across the base are here to help so ask questions and share your concerns,” said Simmons. “Transparency is important. Facts and figures are key. We want you to feel empowered to make informed decisions. The only way to get through this is together.”
The end state of the DOD is to reduce the burden of the COVID-19 disease in high-risk populations and simultaneously mitigate risk to military operations.
For updates and information on the COVID-19 vaccine, visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/ and the David Grant USAF Medical Center Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/dgmcofficial/.