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144th Fighter Wing Administers COVID-19 Vaccine to Airmen

FRESNO AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Calif. --

The 144th Medical Group started providing  the first round of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Airmen of the 144th Fighter Wing on January 8, 2021.

To ensure the wing was ready and capable to administer the new vaccine, Senior Master Sgt. Nathan Krebs, 144th MDG health systems technician, said there were certain training and infrastructure criteria the wing had to meet prior to receiving the vaccine.

"The cold storage training, that's the biggest issue with getting these [Moderna] vaccines. It has to be kept at such a cold temperature. Minus-20 degrees Celsius," said Krebs, "We also had to provide proof that we have the proper storage facilities, alarms, and a back-up generator."

Krebs added the 144th MDG staff also needed to be fully aware of the unique aspects on how to prepare, administer, and handle the vaccine.

Currently the vaccine is not mandatory for service members to receive, but Lt. Col. Shazad Jahromi, 144th MDG senior flight surgeon, highly recommends Airmen consider getting the vaccine when it's made available to them.

"Two reasons, first and foremost for your own safety and the health and safety of your family. Second, to defeat the pandemic by reaching a level of herd immunity." Jahromi added, "To reach a level of herd immunity you must either get the disease or get the vaccine. Getting the disease can be quite dangerous and destructive. To reach a level of herd immunity safely, I highly recommend getting the vaccine."

The Department of Defense COVID-19 vaccine roll-out plan is being implemented in a standardized and coordinated strategy for prioritizing, distributing and administering vaccines to protect service members, maintain readiness and support the national COVID-19 response.