Al Dhafra medics receive, distribute first large batch of COVID-19 vaccines
By Staff Sgt. Miranda A. Loera, 380th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
/ Published March 20, 2021
AL DHAFRA AIR BASE, United Arab Emirates --
Medics of the 380th Expeditionary Medical Group distributed more than 1,300 vaccines this week to service members from the U.S. Air Force and U.S Army, alongside local Department of Defense contractors.
The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine arrived at the base via C-130 Hercules on March 15.
“Our goal was to design a well-oiled machine to make this experience respectful, efficient and smooth for every member processing through the points of distribution,” said Col. Bonnie Stevenson, 380th Expeditionary Medical Group commander.
The medics enacted a vaccination drive where military members were able to opt in or out of the vaccine after receiving an educational brief on the process. Using six POD stations set up in the base fitness center, medics streamlined injections and monitoring, which resulted in vaccinating the first thousand volunteers within 36 hours of the vaccine’s arrival.
“In all my years of serving under medical squadrons and having planned a flu vaccine POD, this one was by far the best I have seen,” said Stevenson. “The medics, the leadership support, public affairs and line manpower volunteers all contributed to its resounding success. Many of us view the vaccine as hope and the beginning to the end of this pandemic.”
According to a DoD press release, nearly 1.3 million doses have been distributed at 335 DoD vaccination sites as of March 5.
“I received the vaccine and I did it not only for myself, but also for my son and, overall, the world,” said Tech. Sgt. Kenisha Lane, 380th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron patrolman. “This was a big step in the right direction. Many people have lost their lives due to this pandemic, but with this vaccine hopefully this will help save more people and continue to help us move forward.”