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USECAF receives insight into COVID-19 vaccinations at Reserve wing

Under Secretary of the Air Force Gina Ortiz Jones walks with Col. Terry McClain, 433rd Airlift Wing commander, to view the mandatory COVID-19 vaccination process at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, Oct. 2, 2021. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Samantha Mathison)

Under Secretary of the Air Force Gina Ortiz Jones walks with Col. Terry McClain, 433rd Airlift Wing commander, to view the mandatory COVID-19 vaccination process at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, Oct. 2, 2021. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Samantha Mathison)

Maj. Alisha Young, 433rd Aeromedical Staging Squadron critical care air transport team physician, speaks with Under Secretary of the Air Force Gina Ortiz Jones during her visit to 433rd Airlift Wing members at Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, Oct. 2, 2021. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Samantha Mathison)

Maj. Alisha Young, 433rd Aeromedical Staging Squadron critical care air transport team physician, speaks with Under Secretary of the Air Force Gina Ortiz Jones during her visit to 433rd Airlift Wing members at Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, Oct. 2, 2021. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Samantha Mathison)

Under Secretary of the Air Force Gina Ortiz Jones speaks with Maj. Molly McCowan, 433rd Medical Squadron clinical nurse, during her visit to 433rd Airlift Wing members at Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, to view COVID-19 vaccination efforts, Oct. 2, 2021. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Samantha Mathison)

Under Secretary of the Air Force Gina Ortiz Jones speaks with Maj. Molly McCowan, 433rd Medical Squadron clinical nurse, during her visit to 433rd Airlift Wing members at Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, to view COVID-19 vaccination efforts, Oct. 2, 2021. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Samantha Mathison)

Under Secretary of the Air Force Gina Ortiz Jones visits the 433rd Medical Group at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, to meet with Reserve Citizen Airmen leaders on mandatory COVID-19 vaccination efforts, Oct. 2, 2021. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Samantha Mathison)

Under Secretary of the Air Force Gina Ortiz Jones visits the 433rd Medical Group at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, to meet with Reserve Citizen Airmen leaders on mandatory COVID-19 vaccination efforts, Oct. 2, 2021. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Samantha Mathison)

Under Secretary of the Air Force Gina Ortiz Jones visits with Maj. Dana Mayer, 433rd Medical Squadron critical care air transport team, at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, Oct. 2, 2021. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Samantha Mathison)

Under Secretary of the Air Force Gina Ortiz Jones visits with Maj. Dana Mayer, 433rd Medical Squadron critical care air transport team, at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, Oct. 2, 2021. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Samantha Mathison)

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas -- Under Secretary of the Air Force Gina Ortiz Jones visited the 433rd Airlift Wing here to meet with Reserve Citizen Airmen leaders on mandatory COVID-19 vaccination efforts, Oct. 2, 2021.

Jones walked through the Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center where unvaccinated members of the 433rd AW were gathered to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, or get further counseling in cases of those still hesitant.

“It’s about readiness,” Jones said to a group of medical Airmen she stopped to talk with. “We’ve needlessly lost too many Air Force teammates to COVID-19, so we need to get vaccinated. We need to be mission ready.”

During her conversations there, topics centered around efforts to meet the Department of Defense deadline of Dec. 2, medical and religious concerns, exemption policies and processes, and best practices for battling misinformation surrounding the vaccine.

Jones also visited the 433rd Medical Group for a walkthrough of the facility and a critical care air transport team equipment demonstration.

A CCATT is a highly specialized and uniquely skilled three-person medical team that augments standard aeromedical evacuation crew members, and turns an aircraft into a flying intensive care unit, when critically ill or injured patients require continuous monitoring, stabilization or complex care while in-transit to a medical treatment facility.

The 433rd Aerospace Medicine Squadron Commander, Col. Luis Berrios, was there to help facilitate Jones’ visit and assist with the communication of objectives.

“It was a pleasure to showcase the multiple operations the 433rd AMDS and our medical group partners conducted today, including in-person and virtual preventive health assessments, COVID-19 vaccinations for over 250 Airmen, processing medical exemptions, providing guidance to squadron commanders and supporting our chaplain partners with religious exemptions,” Berrios said.

“We emphasized that the outstanding collaboration between the 433rd Airlift Wing, 960th Cyberspace Wing and 59th Medical Wing allows our medical group to successfully achieve our COVID-19 vaccination tasking,” he said. “We couldn’t be prouder to ensure the health, safety and readiness of over 2,800 Airmen.”

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