SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany --
Spangdahlem Air Base conducted its first inoculations of first responders and healthcare workers with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine Jan. 4, 2021.
The arrival of the vaccine paves the way for a phased vaccine distribution plan to protect our military communities overseas against COVID-19.
“This is an important turning point towards normalcy,” said U.S. Air Force Col. David Epperson, 52nd Fighter Wing commander. “It does not eliminate the need to continue with public health measures that we have had instituted for COVID-19, such as wearing a mask, social distancing, practicing good hygiene and restricting movement, but it is something that will aid us. We need to use every available tool in order to fight this pandemic.”
Vaccinations will be distributed using a phased approach determined by the Defense Department. Each phase of the vaccine distribution process is designed to safely protect Department of Defense personnel from COVID-19 as quickly as possible.
“Vaccines are a simple, safe and effective way to protect people from diseases before they get infected,” said Lt. Col. Marc Boggy, 52nd Medical Group chief of medical staff. “They use our body’s natural defenses to build immunity against a specific thing so that we don’t have to suffer through the disease to fight it off.”
“We recognize that this is not your typical vaccine,” Boggy continued. “So we’re taking steps in the medical group to make sure that we are providing the necessary information so that all Sabers can feel comfortable with taking the vaccine.”
As the distribution is carried out, information on the timeline of subsequent phases will be provided through command channels, on the Spangdahlem Coronavirus webpage, and through the 52nd Medical Group and Spangdahlem Air Base Facebook pages.
Under U.S. Food and Drug Administration emergency use approval, the vaccine is voluntary but recommended by the military.
“The FDA only authorizes the use of a COVID-19 vaccine after careful and rigorous testing and trials,” said Brig. Gen. Mark Thompson, Regional Health Command Europe commanding general. “We are excited to be playing a role in providing a very safe and effective vaccine to our military community. This vaccine is a vital part of our way forward to protect our people, their families and the communities where we live and work.”
All DoD personnel will continue to wear appropriate masks, practice physical distancing, wash hands, follow restriction of movement and adhere to host nation restrictions for the safety of their communities, as a large portion of the population will need to be vaccinated before COVID-19 risks diminish.
Please continue to observe the disease prevention measures, and if you have any questions or concerns, contact Public Health at Commercial: 0656561-8308/DSN: 452-8308.
Additional resources include:
General Information: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control Prevention: https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/novel-coronavirus-china/questions-answers
Spangdahlem Air Base General Information: https://www.spangdahlem.af.mil/Coronavirus/