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Spangdahlem AB distributes first COVID-19 vaccine

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Brandon Franklin, 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron Fire and Emergency Services firefighter, receives the COVID-19 vaccine from Tech Sgt. Valeria Feist, 52nd Medical Operations Squadron allergy and immunization technician, Jan. 4, 2021, at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. Capt. Matthew Jordan, 52nd Medical Support Squadron chief of pharmacy operations, back, oversaw and hosted the first distribution of COVID-19 vaccinations for 52nd Fighter Wing Airmen, and ensured the process and comfort of service members were a priority. (U.S Air Force photo by Senior Airman Melody W. Howley)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Brandon Franklin, 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron Fire and Emergency Services firefighter, receives the COVID-19 vaccine from Tech Sgt. Valeria Feist, 52nd Medical Operations Squadron allergy and immunization technician, Jan. 4, 2021, at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. Capt. Matthew Jordan, 52nd Medical Support Squadron chief of pharmacy operations, back, oversaw and hosted the first distribution of COVID-19 vaccinations for 52nd Fighter Wing Airmen, and ensured the process and comfort of service members were a priority. (U.S Air Force photo by Senior Airman Melody W. Howley)

U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Shareef Cardwell, 52nd Medical Operations Squadron superintendent, administers a COVID-19 vaccine to Master Sgt. Fay Craigmile, 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron Fire and Emergency Services interim deputy fire chief, Jan. 4, 2021, at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. After receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, service members will continue adhering to Department of Defense and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, such as consistently washing hands, wearing face masks and maintaining physical distancing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Melody W. Howley)

U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Shareef Cardwell, 52nd Medical Operations Squadron superintendent, administers a COVID-19 vaccine to Master Sgt. Fay Craigmile, 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron Fire and Emergency Services interim deputy fire chief, Jan. 4, 2021, at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. After receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, service members will continue adhering to Department of Defense and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, such as consistently washing hands, wearing face masks and maintaining physical distancing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Melody W. Howley)

U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Shareef Cardwell, 52nd Medical Operations Squadron superintendent, fills a syringe during a COVID-19 vaccination disbursement Jan. 4, 2021, at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. Full effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine requires two doses beginning with the initial dose, and then following up with a second dose 28 days later. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Melody W. Howley)

U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Shareef Cardwell, 52nd Medical Operations Squadron superintendent, fills a syringe during a COVID-19 vaccination disbursement Jan. 4, 2021, at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. Full effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine requires two doses beginning with the initial dose, and then following up with a second dose 28 days later. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Melody W. Howley)

U.S. Air Force Col. Alisha Smith, 52nd Medical Group commander, left, receives one of the first COVID-19 vaccine from Tech Sgt. Valeria Feist, 52nd Medical Operations Squadron allergy and immunization technician Jan. 4, 2021, at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. All Department of Defense personnel who are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine are highly encouraged to receive it in efforts to protect service members and reduce the spread of the virus. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Melody W. Howley)

U.S. Air Force Col. Alisha Smith, 52nd Medical Group commander, left, receives one of the first COVID-19 vaccine from Tech Sgt. Valeria Feist, 52nd Medical Operations Squadron allergy and immunization technician Jan. 4, 2021, at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. All Department of Defense personnel who are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine are highly encouraged to receive it in efforts to protect service members and reduce the spread of the virus. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Melody W. Howley)

The 52nd Medical Group distributed their first batch of COVID-19 vaccinations Jan. 4, 2021, at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. In accordance with the Department of Defense’s distribution plan, the COVID-19 vaccine will first be administered to front line personnel, such as first responders and members of the 52nd MDG. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Melody W. Howley)

The 52nd Medical Group distributed their first batch of COVID-19 vaccinations Jan. 4, 2021, at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. In accordance with the Department of Defense’s distribution plan, the COVID-19 vaccine will first be administered to front line personnel, such as first responders and members of the 52nd MDG. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Melody W. Howley)

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:

CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/summary.html
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/