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First round of COVID vaccines being distributed at Hill

  • Published
  • By Kendahl Johnson
  • 75th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah -- The 75th Medical Group has started delivering COVID-19 vaccinations to Hill’s emergency services personnel, security forces, and medical and health care professionals.

The vaccine will initially be offered under an Emergency Use Authorization, and vaccinations will be voluntary. Initial quantities of the vaccine are limited and will be distributed on a rolling delivery basis as more vaccines becomes available.

“I feel really glad that we have had the opportunity to get the vaccine here,” said Capt. Amanda Byrd, a nurse practitioner with the 75th Medical Group. “It’s important to protect our medical personnel and first responders right now because if they go down, we’ll have problems going forward keeping everyone healthy.”

Lt. Col. Stephanie Ellenburg, 75th Health Care Operations Squadron commander, said the distribution will be prioritized based on the Department of Defense COVID-19 vaccine plan. The 75th Medical Group will implement a standardized and coordinated strategy for prioritizing and administering the COVID-19 vaccine to all active component, Reserve component, TRICARE Prime and Select beneficiaries, and select DoD civilians and contract personnel authorized to receive immunizations.

“We remain committed to our priorities during the COVID-19 pandemic to protect our people, maintain readiness, and support the national COVID-19 response,” she said.

According to Dr. Mark Peterson, 75th Medical Group chief of medical staff and immunizations medical director, the vaccine has undergone extensive testing and studies have shown it to be 95 percent effective.

“The vaccine is proven to be safe and effective,” Peterson said. “Things may never go back to how they were before COVID-19, but the aim is to slow down the pandemic and facilitate a return to a more normal life.   

According to the CDC, COVID precautions such as masks and social distancing will still be necessary until a large portion of the population is vaccinated and the vaccine is proven to provide long-term protection.