Air Force increases support to FEMA Community Vaccination Centers

  • Published
  • Air Forces Northern

At the request of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, two additional Air Force medical teams totaling 360 personnel are part of the Department of Defense’s latest deployment of 860 military medical and support personnel deployed to Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Virginia, and who are to deploy to Indiana and Missouri, to support state-run, federally supported Community Vaccination Centers.

“Helping our fellow Americans is incredibly satisfying,” said Air Force Col. Jeffry A. Hollman, commander, 335th Air Expeditionary Group (AEG), Air Forces Northern, First Air Force. “The Airmen comprising these vaccination support teams are medical and support people from across the nation. Sometimes they have a day or two notice to get on a plane and go provide assistance. They’re professional, ready and glad to support the effort.”

The 335th AEG is providing administrative support to 220 Air Force personnel who deployed to the CVC at the New Jersey Institute of Technology Naimoli Family Athletic and Recreational Facility in Newark. The 64th AEG is managing the 140 members scheduled to support the CVC at the former Roosevelt High School in Gary, Ind.

Both of First Air Force’s Air Expeditionary Groups assist with “smoothing the transition of arriving Air Force vaccination support team (VST) members,” added Hollman.

A portion of the VSTs are general purpose Airmen, meaning from any career field like vehicle maintenance or munitions, he said. “So for those who usually work behind the scenes, it’s an especially rewarding experience to interact with the public. These Airmen assist with tasks like registration or managing appointments.”

U.S. Army North, the Joint Force Land Component Command (JFLCC) of U.S. Northern Command, will oversee the multi-service military COVID-19 response operation in support of the states and the federal vaccination pilot.

“Currently, our service members, in support of FEMA and the whole-of-government response to the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccinate tens of thousands of Americans every day,” said Army Lt. Gen. Laura J. Richardson, ARNORTH and JFLCC commander. “Once open, these five new sites will have the capability to administer up to 21,000 vaccinations daily, bringing our joint force close to 100,000 vaccinations a day.”

In addition to Air Force personnel, approximately 500 Navy personnel are designated to support CVCs in Boston, St. Louis and Norfolk, Va.

According to FEMA, a Type 1 Team is capable of administering up to 6,000 vaccinations a day, while a Type 2 Team is capable of administering up to 3,000 vaccinations a day.

These military medical and support personnel join approximately 3,000 others from the U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force already supporting the federal vaccination effort in California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington and in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

"The public contributes to our military morale with the heartwarming hand-written thank-you notes and words of appreciation,” said Hollman. “We appreciate the opportunity to contribute.”