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NJANG wing prepares to receive COVID-19 vaccine

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Coronavirus Disease 2019 Graphic. (U.S. Air Force Graphic by Rosario "Charo" Gutierrez)

JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. --

In preparation for the COVID-19 vaccine, the New Jersey Air National Guard’s 108th Medical Group personnel are solidifying logistics and processes to administer the vaccination upon its arrival. The vaccine’s arrival date has not been determined.

Medical personnel providing direct care and emergency services, along with first responders, will be first to receive the vaccine as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control’s data-driven guidance and the Department of Defense’s distribution plan.

“As with any vaccine preventable disease, the hope is that enough healthy individuals will be vaccinated to protect themselves and help protect those vulnerable groups within the population,” said Lt. Col. Jade Spurgeon, 108th MDG flight surgeon and aerospace medicine officer-in-charge.  “The large clinical trials, as well as the actual immunization campaigns that are currently occurring around the world, have shown that these vaccines are safe and efficacious.  In addition, the majority of individuals who have received the vaccine report that they have either no side effects or very mild, transient effects such as redness or muscle soreness at the site or feeling under the weather for one to two days after injection.”

Vaccines authorized for emergency use (EUA) are currently being offered on a voluntary basis. Prioritized DoD personnel are highly encouraged to take the vaccine to protect their health, their families, their community, and lower the public health risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dispelling myths and seeking factual information is key to making an informed decision in opting whether to get the vaccination or not.

“As with all decisions that affect your health, you should gather all available information from reliable sources to consider the pros and cons before actually making the decision,” said Spurgeon. “The CDC and Food and Drug Administration websites provide information about how the vaccine trials were conducted, the safety data, and the recommendations of the country’s top medical and scientific experts.  If after reviewing this information you still have questions, please feel free to reach out to the 108th MDG to discuss your concerns.”

Some have made the decision to take the vaccine in addition to upholding DOD required safety precautions.

“Although it is not mandatory to get the vaccine, I will be the first one to get it because I want to protect you, my family and the community at large from this invisible adversary,” said Col. Mauricia Alo, commander, 108th MDG. “I will continue to observe physical distancing and good personal hygiene to include frequent hand washing and will continue to wear a face covering when outside my workspace. I urge you to do the same.”

To learn more about the vaccine and ways to prevent infection visit www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/index.html or https://www.fda.gov/emergency-preparedness-and-response/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19/covid-19-vaccines.