HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - On Monday, first responders, direct care staff, police and critical support personnel at the Redstone Arsenal were given a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
That initial shipment arrived on Friday and is designated for essential personnel on the base.
Vaccines have only been administered at select military locations, chosen based on their ability to handle the vaccine safely. Redstone Arsenal was among that mix and now it’s a matter of making sure each recipient gets the second round in a timely manner. So far, the Arsenal has administered about a quarter of its authorization.
Colonel Roberto Cardenas, Commander of Fox Army Health Center at Redstone Arsenal said the Department of Defense has clearly outlined a phased approach to distribution.
“The vaccine comes in its appropriate Cold Chain Management holding capability,” Cardenas said. “We inspect it, store it immediately, send our report that we have positive control, and then we work with the units in the phasing system based upon the prioritization guidance established by Department of Defense.”
Colonel Cardenas said it will be a while before everyone at the Arsenal gets vaccinated. In the meantime, his team is working to create a secure and safe environment so the doses can be administered quickly and efficiently.
“We need to think through methodically and we’re developing a system here at our hospital just like a lot of military hospitals have been doing, because it is a two dose vaccine regimen and it has a time phase to it. But we are working through that,” Cardenas said.
Cardenas said he is proud of the installations his team supports, for stepping up to assist in any way they can. He is also proud of his own team at Fox Army Health Center.
“It’s a privilege working with them every day and watching them adjust,” he said. “And then also seeing the teamwork approach here at the Arsenal, starting with garrison and first responders and the leadership in the tenant units.”
The COVID-19 vaccine is not required for military personnel right now because it is emergency use authorization. However, when formally licensed by the FDA, the DoD may require it.