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Commander delivers latest COVID-19 update

Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the DoD population schema for the COVID-19 vaccine

The Department of Defense population schema has been updated and no longer includes a Phase 3.

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio --

Col. Patrick Miller, 88th Air Base Wing and installation commander, addressed the base Jan. 27 on Facebook Live concerning the latest COVID-19 situation update.

Miller was joined by Lt. Col. (Dr.) Michael Crowder, the 88th Medical Group’s Public Health emergency officer; Col. Christian Lyons, 88 MDG commander; and Col. Jason Musser, 88 MDG deputy commander.

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base remains in Health Protection Condition Bravo with an emphasis on maximizing telework.

DOD schema update

The Defense Department recently updated its population schema for vaccine administration. The new schema can be found below.

Phase 1A: Emergency services and public safety personnel, health care staff and other medical personnel

Phase 1B: National-critical capabilities, deploying personnel, beneficiaries ages 75 and over, and front-line essential personnel

Phase 1C: Beneficiaries ages 65 to 74, high-risk beneficiaries ages 16 to 64, mission-essential personnel and DOD prisoners

Phase 2: Remaining population

Local area situation report

By obeying the safety guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the numbers for COVID-19 in Ohio have been decreasing, base officials said.

“Things are trending in the right direction, not just in the number of COVID cases that we are seeing in the surrounding four counties, but also what we are seeing in cases for ICU hospitalizations, ventilators and all other things,” Miller said.

COVID-19 variants

Different variants of COVID-19 have started to show not only in other parts of the world, but hospitals within the country.

“Multiple variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 have been documented in the United States and globally during this pandemic,” Crowder said. “These variants seem to spread more quickly and easily than other variants, which could lead to more cases of COVID-19.”

A particular variant that originated in the United Kingdom has been found in 24 states, causing 293 cases of COVID-19. At this point, Ohio does not have any documented cases of this variant.

“Regardless of what variant it is, it comes down to rigorous and increased compliance of the COVID-19 mitigation strategies such as physical distancing, use of masks, good hand hygiene, and following public health recommendations for quarantine and isolation,” Crowder said.

Vaccination process

As more vaccines come in, all operations will immediately be moved to the Wright-Patterson Club. Once your schema phase is due for vaccination and you receive an appointment, you may report to the Wright-Patterson Club weekdays 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“All of the 75-and-older group we are currently working with will be going to the Wright-Patt club to get their vaccine,” Musser said. “The nationwide supply of the vaccine is still not the best, but it gets better every day. One to two weeks in the future, we are still unsure whether or not we will be getting vaccines. This is why we want to contact you before you contact us.”

Starting Jan. 28, questions or concerns about COVID-19, the population schema and vaccine may only be addressed through 937-257-SHOT. Any appointments can still be scheduled through the appointment line.

Distribution limitations

Because of the abundant need for vaccines across the country, the supply has become limited.

“We don’t have a full supply that can take care of our entire population yet,” Lyons said. “We promise when we do get the vaccine and we can make sure to vaccinate people from their appropriate phase in the schema, we will do so.”

Although the vaccine supply has started to become limited, 88 MDG has wasted no time putting vaccinations in arms.

 “I want to highlight the efforts of our 88th MDG medics,” Lyons said. “We have provided the second-most vaccinations in the entire Air Force, and I couldn’t be more proud of our folks.”

‘Strength through support’

“We have resources here for you,” Miller said. “Our focus in the 88th ABW is to provide strength through support. We support you across that entire spectrum.”

If you are in need of help – whether it be family advocacy, mental health, the chaplain or any other resource – look into the base resources and call the 88 ABW for help, he added.

The wing commander said “strength through support” is among the most important aspects of winning the battle against COVID-19.

“Socially distancing is the wrong two words to use,” Miller said. “To protect each other, we need physical distancing, but we have to have social connection.”

Stay current on updates

For a more in-depth dive into COVID-19 and the vaccine, listen to the Facebook Live panel from Jan. 28, which includes specialists involved with internal medicine, infectious disease, allergy immunizations, obstetrics and gynecology, and nephrology. The panel link is at www.facebook.com/WPAFB/videos/3013760008851149.

Follow the Wright-Patt AFB Facebook page @wpafb to stay up to date with current information on the base and medical center.

To watch the Jan. 27 Facebook town hall, visit www.facebook.com/WPAFB/videos/773141286883194.

If you have follow-up questions or concerns, email 88abw.pa@us.af.mil or call 937-522-3252.