Medics to help with U.S. COVID relief
By Senior Airman Alexi Bosarge, 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
/ Published April 14, 2021
MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- Approximately 25 tanker medics from McConnell’s 22nd Medical Group help make life-saving vaccines readily available to the American people.
The medics departed Kansas on April 9, 2021, for St. Paul, Minn., in support of the Federal Emergency Management Agency COVID-19 response operations.
McConnell’s tanker medics will join approximately 4,200 total-force personnel across the U.S. already in support of the federal vaccine effort. These combined military personnel have already administered more than 1.9 million vaccine doses.
“Vaccination is our greatest weapon in the fight against the current pandemic,” said Col. Lee Nenortas, 22nd Medical Group commander. “As with almost anything in medicine, it’s better to prevent than to try to cure. All of our potential vaccinators, including those of us remaining, have completed extensive training in every aspect of vaccine handling and administration.”
The total-force team is currently supporting 39 Community Vaccination Centers in 19 states across the country not including the site McConnell’s tanker medics will staff in Minnesota.
In a press release Tim Walz, Minnesota state governor, said that the vaccination site will receive 168,000 doses over the course of eight weeks. This will in turn lead to more than 100,000 total people being vaccinated.
The medics will be in Minnesota until further notice to help support FEMA and administer thousands of vaccines to Americans.
“It is an honor that we are able to [deploy],” said Maj. Helena Guerra, 22nd Medical Group commander of troops. “This is the first pandemic in a 100 years, so to be able to help get people vaccinated and slow the spread is amazing.”
The FEMA vaccination plan will help stop the rise of confirmed cases which are currently at 133,146,550, as of April 9, 2021, according to the World Health Organization.
COVID-19 has had a worldwide impact over the past year, making it crucial for vaccines to be widely available. McConnell will also continue to provide vaccine services on base to eligible beneficiaries.