OTIS AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mass. – Massachusetts National Guard Soldiers and Airmen of the 102nd Medical Group worked with the Massachusetts Organized Militia (MAOM) to perform a first run of the COVID-19 immunization process Jan. 28.
The initial vaccine was administered to wing leadership. People will be vaccinated in a phased approach, beginning with emergency services personnel, security forces, and health care professionals. Groups will then be prioritized based on exposure risk and health factors.
"We are very fortunate to be able to start the process to vaccinate personnel assigned to JBCC (Joint Base Cape Cod)," said Col. Sean Riley, 102nd Intelligence Wing commander. "This is truly a joint effort. The vaccination team includes both Army and Air Guardsmen and even some retired members of the Guard that volunteered to come back on state active duty."
The vaccination plan is focused on military personnel providing direct medical care, emergency services and protecting public safety. According to the phased Department of Defense approach, this is followed by those providing essential installation functions and deploying forces who volunteer for vaccination.
In addition to the Airmen and Soldiers from the Massachusetts National Guard, Chief Warrant Officer 5 James Girard and Master Sgt. Frank Noonan of the Massachusetts Organized Militia assisted with the immunization process.
The MAOM assists National Guard forces, assumes state missions when the National Guard is deployed, provides emergency support during disasters, and assists in color guards and funeral details.
"We are men and women who have retired and spent at least 20 years in the military, of which the last five years had to be in the Massachusetts National Guard," said Girard.
The participation from all parts of the Massachusetts military underscores the importance of this mission to vaccinate the troops. Ensuring service members are protected will guarantee continued support of operations such as Task Force Raptor, where more than 180 Soldiers and Airmen with civilian medical training were called up to join the commonwealth's fight against COVID-19 early last year.
"For me, getting the vaccine as soon as I could was an easy decision," said Riley. "The more vaccines we are able to administer will keep our people protected, increasing our readiness and ensure we can support any state or federal mission taskings we receive."