TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. – The 72nd Medical Group began delivering COVID-19 vaccinations Jan. 4. The first three were given to two Tinker AFB first responders and a health care professional.
The initial shipment of the Moderna vaccine arrived this month, with medical workers, emergency services and public safety personnel prioritized first, according to the Department of Defense’s distribution plan. Following CDC recommendations, the DOD’s vaccine distribution plan has three phases. The second phase encompasses high-risk beneficiaries, with the final phase moving to the healthy population.
Tinker Fire and Emergency Services Chief Terry Ford was the first to receive the vaccine.
“This is an honor for me to be the first one on Tinker to get [the vaccine],” said Ford. “The reason I wanted to be the first was to show that it’s safe and to make sure people are doing their duty to protect each other.”
The two other recipients of the vaccine were Officer Peter Way, 72nd Security Forces Squadron operations officer, and 1st Lt. James Dillard, 72nd Operational Medical Readiness Squadron COVID element leader. Both received the vaccine due to their roles as a first responder and a health care professional. Dillard is the first active duty military member at Tinker to receive the vaccine.
The clinic was able to successfully deliver the vaccine after careful preparation and training. Vaccines will be given in a two-dose series separated by 21 or 28 days, depending on the product.
According to the CDC, COVID precautions such as masks and social distancing will still be necessary until a large portion of the population is vaccinated and the vaccine is proven to provide long-term protection.
“This vaccine brings us one step closer to getting out of this challenging time, but we need everyone to stay vigilant,” said Col. Paul Filcek, 72nd Air Base Wing and Tinker installation commander. “Our medical treatment facility stands ready to quickly and efficiently vaccinate as many members of Team Tinker as possible every time shipments arrive.”
The vaccines currently being distributed are voluntary until the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issues its full and final approval. Additional information, including how the vaccine works and safety monitoring, can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/index.html.
Up-to-date information can be found at https://www.tinker.af.mil/coronavirus or by calling the Tinker COVID hotline at 405-582-6297.
For more information on the DOD’s response to the coronavirus, visit https://www.defense.gov/Explore/Spotlight/Coronavirus/.