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101st Airborne Division leaders mark Blanchfield Army Community Hospital’s COVID-19 vaccine transition from healthcare/emergency personnel to frontline essential workers
Blanchfield Army Community Hospital
Fort Campbell, KY – Leaders from the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and U.S. Army Fort Campbell volunteered to receive the COVID-19 Coronavirus vaccine at Blanchfield Army Community Hospital, recently, marking the hospital’s transition from healthcare and emergency service personnel to Phase 1B vaccinations.
“Our next group that are going in Phase 1 are our critical and essential staff. So, command teams and those decision-makers and leaders. We want to make sure we are keeping them safe and protected,” said Maj. Jade Snader, chief nurse for Blanchfield’s Soldier Health Services and helping lead the COVID-vaccine mission.
Phase 1B includes personnel who support national critical capabilities, those preparing to deploy, and frontline essential workers.
“All of our healthcare professionals, our frontline folks, have either received the vaccine or have been offered it. So now that we’re done with that echelon, we’re starting to get into the next priority,” said Maj. Gen. Brian E. Winski, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and U.S. Army Fort Campbell commanding general.
Currently, the COVID-19 Coronavirus vaccine is not mandatory but service members may choose to receive it. The commanding general demonstrated he put his trust in the vaccine by receiving it himself.
“I wanted to be one of the first just to alleviate any apprehension that there may be about the vaccine. I think it is important to protect ourselves and protect those that we’re in contact with. I trust the science. I trust the leadership that developed this vaccine. I think we know more about the long-term impacts of this vaccine right now, than we do with the long-term impacts of actually contracting COVID, whether its respiratory issues, heart issues, cognitive issues, etcetera. So I trust our medical professionals,” said Winski.
The general was joined by other members of his staff who also volunteered to receive the vaccine.
“I’m absolutely grateful for getting the shot today. And as far as what it felt like, it was absolutely painless. The nurses at BACH have been well trained. They have been doing this for a while,” said Col. Stephen Shrader, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) chief of staff. “I actually had to watch the needle go into my arm to even see whether I had the shot or not. It is that painless, so it is a super easy process.”
As BACH receives more shipments of COVID-19 Coronavirus vaccine, hospital coordinators are working with division and installation leaders to vaccinate any of their Phase 1 personnel who would like it and are making plans for the next phase.
“I was very happy they offered it this quickly. I was afraid we would have to wait a lot longer to get it, so I was pretty happy about that,” said Ms. Meghan Leon, a teacher at Barkley Elementary School on Fort Campbell.
She and other teachers and childcare workers on post were among the essential frontline workers offered the vaccine because federal guidance rates them at a substantially higher risk of exposure to COVID-19 Coronavirus.
“I had COVID and I don’t want to get it again. I don’t have any fears of the vaccine,” said Ms. Patricia Reddick, an education assistant also from Barkley Elementary School.
Reddick said she had nearly every symptom associated with COVID and was sick for 18 days, so when she was given the opportunity to take the vaccine she said yes.
Individuals who have already had the virus are encouraged to get the COVID-19 vaccine because it is possible to get the virus again.
The current COVID-19 vaccine used at BACH is administered in two doses 21 days apart. It may take up to two weeks after the second dose for the body to build a strong immune response so it is important that vaccine recipients continue to practice social distancing, wear a face mask and wash their hands.
The COVID-19 Coronavirus vaccine is currently limited in availability so the hospital is following a phased-in vaccination plan developed by the U.S. Department of Defense with guidance from the CDC. During the current phase, healthcare workers and first responders were vaccinated first. The next vaccines transitioned to personnel critical to national capabilities, those scheduled to deploy outside the continental U.S. within three months, and other critical and essential personnel on installations.
Earlier this month, hospital officials began preparing for Phase 2 – beneficiaries with one or more high-risk factors in their medical record. An automated telephone survey allowed these beneficiaries to indicate their interest in receiving the vaccine. This allows hospital officials to determine how much vaccine is needed.
Over the initial two-week period, the survey reached a number of high-risk beneficiaries and recorded their preference. However, some calls went straight to voicemail so hospital officials are in the process of conducting another phone survey to individuals not reached during the first call out.
For more information about COVID vaccines offered at Blanchfield Army Community Hospital, visit www.facebook.com/BACH.Fort.Campbell
Topics101st Airborne Division, Bach, Blanchfield Army Community Hospital, Brian E. Winski, Coronavirus, COVID-19, COVID-19 Vaccine, Fort Campbell, Fort Campbell KY, Stephen Shrader, U.S. Department of Defense
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