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YARS Airmen volunteer to receive first round of COVID-19 vaccinations

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Jeffrey Grossi
  • 910th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Nearly 170 Reserve Citizen Airmen received the COVID-19 vaccine at Youngstown Air Reserve Station, Feb. 6-7, 2021. Airmen are slated to receive their second doses of the vaccine during the March Unit Training Assembly.

With COVID-19 cases reaching 27 million in the U.S., the DoD put forth a priority plan which allows first responders, mission-critical personnel, members scheduled to deploy soon, food handlers and members with high-risk medical conditions an opportunity to be first in line to receive the vaccine. Airmen not in a priority status who were interested in being vaccinated were provided the opportunity a day later.

Capt. Jennifer Denton, a clinical nurse with the 910th Medical Squadron and vaccine coordinator, said that Airmen and DoD personnel are reminded and encouraged to get the vaccine to protect their health, their families and their community, but the decision is completely voluntary. Each Airman is encouraged to make an informed decision based on their own research.

According to the 2012 book, “Immunology for Pharmacy,” mass administration of effective and safe vaccines helps counter the devastating effects of disease. Historically, diseases such as smallpox, measles and polio have hindered the military’s medical readiness. Since the implementation of vaccination programs, the number of individuals who suffered from widespread disease has plummeted. The incidences of target diseases dropped from 100,000 cases per year to 1­­–5,000 cases per year in the U.S. Like the Flu vaccine, individuals are expected to experience some side effects and adverse reactions as the body builds its immunity to the virus. Typically, side effects are mild and go away after a few days.

Individuals who have received the first dose of the vaccine receive some level of protection from the virus, said Capt. John Allison, a clinical nurse with the 910th MDS. But depending on your source and their confidence levels, once individuals receive their second dose we’re looking at upwards of 90 percent protection.

Whether you are an Airman or Civilian, have received the vaccine or have decided to wait a little longer, the CDC recommends that all individuals continue to practice social distancing, proper wearing of face masks (completely covering wearer’s mouth and nose) and regular hand washing.

“Don’t visit grandma,” said Capt. Elizabeth Hutchinson, a clinical nurse with the 910th MDS. “You should still social distance and wear a mask. People can still transmit the virus even after receiving the vaccine. The majority of America needs to get vaccinated before we can truly go back to normal. Until then, keep following the DoD’s mandates.”

YARS Reserve Citizen Airmen who are sick with any illness, whether they believe it to be COVID or not, continue to follow CDC and DoD guidelines