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Spangdahlem Air Base Distributes First COVID-19 Vaccine

Jan. 7, 2021 | BY Courtesy Story, 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, conducted its first inoculations of first responders and health care workers with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, Jan. 4, 2021.

An airman receives a vaccination from another airman.
COVID-19 Vaccine
Air Force Senior Airman Brandon Franklin, 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron Fire and Emergency Services firefighter, receives the COVID-19 vaccine from Air Force Tech Sgt. Valeria Feist, 52nd Medical Operations Squadron allergy and immunization technician at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Jan. 4, 2021. Air Force Capt. Matthew Jordan, 52nd Medical Support Squadron chief of pharmacy operations, back, oversaw and hosted the first distribution of COVID-19 vaccinations for 52nd Fighter Wing airmen, and ensured the process and comfort of service members were a priority.
Photo By: Air Force Senior Airman Melody W. Howley
VIRIN: 210104-F-VG991-1043M

The arrival of the vaccine paves the way for a phased vaccine distribution plan to protect our military communities overseas against COVID-19. 

"This is an important turning point towards normalcy," Air Force Col. David Epperson, 52nd Fighter Wing commander, said. "It does not eliminate the need to continue with public health measures that we have had instituted for COVID-19, such as wearing a mask, social distancing, practicing good hygiene and restricting movement, but it is something that will aid us. We need to use every available tool in order to fight this pandemic." 

Vaccinations will be distributed using a phased approach determined by the Defense Department. Each phase of the vaccine distribution process is designed to safely protect Defense Department personnel from COVID-19 as quickly as possible.

A syringe is filled with a vaccine.
COVID-19 Vaccine
Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Shareef Cardwell, 52nd Medical Operations Squadron superintendent, fills a syringe during a COVID-19 vaccination disbursement at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Jan. 4, 2021. Full effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine requires two doses beginning with the initial dose, and then following up with a second dose 28 days later.
Photo By: Air Force Senior Airman Melody W. Howley
VIRIN: 210104-F-VG991-1020M

 
"Vaccines are a simple, safe and effective way to protect people from diseases before they get infected," Air Force Lt. Col. Marc Boggy, 52nd Medical Group chief of medical staff, said. "They use our body's natural defenses to build immunity against a specific thing so that we don't have to suffer through the disease to fight it off."

"We recognize that this is not your typical vaccine," Boggy continued. "So we're taking steps in the medical group to make sure that we are providing the necessary information so that all Sabers can feel comfortable with taking the vaccine."

Under the Food and Drug Administration emergency use approval, the vaccine is voluntary but recommended by the military.

Two Moderna vaccines are shown.
COVID-19 Vaccine
The 52nd Medical Group distributed their first batch of COVID-19 vaccinations at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Jan. 4, 2021.. In accordance with the Defense Department's distribution plan, the COVID-19 vaccine will first be administered to front line personnel, such as first responders and members of the 52nd MDG.
Photo By: Air Force Senior Airman Melody W. Howley
VIRIN: 210104-F-VG991-1007M

"The FDA only authorizes the use of a COVID-19 vaccine after careful and rigorous testing and trials," Army Brig. Gen. Mark Thompson, Regional Health Command Europe commanding general, said. "We are excited to be playing a role in providing a very safe and effective vaccine to our military community. This vaccine is a vital part of our way forward to protect our people, their families and the communities where we live and work."

All DOD personnel will continue to wear appropriate masks, practice physical distancing, wash hands, follow restrictions of movement and adhere to host nation restrictions for the safety of their communities, as a large portion of the population will need to be vaccinated before COVID-19 risks diminish.