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National Guard Supports Vaccination Efforts for Michigan

Dec. 17, 2020 | BY Penelope Carroll, Michigan National Guard

The Michigan National Guard received a request from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to support community health care organizations with logistical and medical assets for COVID-19 vaccinations across the state. Guard leadership has analyzed its medical assets and logistical requirements and plans to augment health care providers across the state, where requested, in the administration of the vaccine.

An airman loads a box.
Holiday Distributions
An airman assigned to the Michigan National Guard’s COVID-19 response task force works at the South Michigan Food Bank, Battle Creek, Mich., Dec. 08, 2020. The airmen are working alongside civilians to help the food bank with distribution this Christmas.
Photo By: Army Staff Sgt. Tegan Kucera
VIRIN: 201208-Z-FY465-1088A

The guard will first staff approximately 50 COVID-19 vaccination and testing teams, or CVTTs, that are composed of a uniformed medical technician and one or two administrative support personnel. The CVTTs will report to four hospital locations deemed priority by the state of Michigan.

"We will provide medics and administrative support to hospitals and local health care organizations and work to fill their needs," said Army Col. Ravindra Wagh, Michigan National Guard joint operations officer. "For some locations that will mean directly administering the vaccine to their staff.  We will also provide administrative support when needed, freeing up critical front-line hospital employees and allowing them to focus on the ongoing battle against COVID-19."

The first priority of the allocated vaccines in Michigan will be to front-line health care workers and the residents and staff of long term health facilities. After that, MDHHS says they will expand vaccinations to people who work in long-term care facilities, nursing homes, essential workers and those people who are at high-risk for severe COVID-19 illnesses. 

Two airmen help distribute food.
Food Distribution
Airmen with the Michigan National Guard’s COVID-19 response task force work at the South Michigan Food Bank, Battle Creek, Mich., Dec. 08, 2020. They are two of the five service members still assigned to the food bank helping distribute food this Christmas season.
Photo By: Army Staff Sgt. Tegan Kucera
VIRIN: 201208-Z-FY465-1067A

The guard is ready to surge their CVTT capacity when needed and in any location throughout Michigan's 83 counties. The COVID-19 vaccination mission will be an ongoing endeavor as the Michigan National Guard works to stay in front of the demands of the health care system throughout the state.

"The Michigan National Guard remains focused on supporting our communities, our neighbors, in this important task," said Army Maj. Gen. Paul Rogers, adjutant general and director of the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. "They are professionals who have proven they have the tenacity and right skillset to support the state of Michigan's ongoing response to COVID-19."

The guard has been integrated into the state's emergency response to the pandemic since Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced its activation on March 18. Across the state of Michigan, the guard continues to support COVID-19 testing and assisting at local food banks. There are currently several hundred Michigan National Guard members supporting these missions. COVID-19 vaccination support by the guard is expected to continue into spring 2021.

Michigan residents seeking more information about the COVID-19 vaccine can visit Michigan.gov/COVIDvaccine.