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Deployment could impact Medical Center operations

Airmen from the 88th Air Base Wing’s Medical Group deployed to Detroit March 19 in support of a Department of Defense COVID-19 vaccination support operation.

Airmen from the 88th Medical Group board a bus outside the medical center as they deploy from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, to Detroit, Michigan, March 19, 2021 in support of the Federal Emergency Management whole-of-government COVID response. During their deployment members will setup a COVID-19 vaccination site where they could vaccinate as many as 6,000 people a day. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wesley Farnsworth)

Airmen from the 88th Air Base Wing’s Medical Group deployed to Detroit March 19 in support of a Department of Defense COVID-19 vaccination support operation.

Airmen from the 88th Medical Group wait on a bus outside the medical center as they deploy from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, to Detroit, Michigan, March 19, 2021 in support of the Federal Emergency Management whole-of-government COVID response. During their deployment members will setup a COVID-19 vaccination site where they could vaccinate as many as 6,000 people a day. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wesley Farnsworth)

Airmen from the 88th Air Base Wing’s Medical Group deployed to Detroit March 19 in support of a Department of Defense COVID-19 vaccination support operation.

U.S. Air Force Col. Patrick Miller, 88th Air Base Wing commander, talks to Airmen from the 88th Medical Group prior deployment from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, to Detroit, Michigan, March 19, in support of the Federal Emergency Management whole-of-government COVID response. During their deployment members will setup a COVID-19 vaccination site where they could vaccinate as many as 6,000 people a day. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wesley Farnsworth)

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio --

The departure of 120 Airmen from the 88th Medical Group for a COVID-19 mission in Detroit could temporarily lead to diminished operations at Wright-Patterson Medical Center, base officials said.

“Although we will remain open for business and all services will be open, some areas may have to change the number of available appointments that can be scheduled,” said Col. Christian Lyons, 88 MDG commander. “This may cause some decrease in access to care for some of our clinical areas such as the primary care services, which may be the most affected clinical area.”

The Wright-Patterson Air Force Base contingent left March 19 to take part in the Department of Defense’s vaccination efforts in Detroit. It’s part of a U.S. Northern Command response operation supporting the Federal Emergency Management Agency.  

With the COVID-19 battle still occurring and more emphasis placed on vaccinations, 88 MDG still plans to put shots in arms locally.

“Fortunately over the last several months, we have developed processes that are effective and efficient in delivering the vaccine to people within the installation and community in a timely manner,” Lyons said. “To date, we have delivered almost 16,000 doses of the vaccine to our installation and beneficiaries.”

Upon eligibility, people waiting for the vaccine should pursue opportunities to get it outside the installation as well, he added.

“Currently, we are able to deliver all or most vaccination doses within two days of receiving it,” Lyons said. “Unfortunately, in the foreseeable future, the installation will not receive many new vaccines, at least over the next month. We hope to receive a larger supply of vaccinations by the end of April.” 

For more information regarding the COVID-19 shot and other outside vaccination centers, visit https://gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov/

“We encourage people to check their eligibility and book their appointment to receive the vaccine via this Ohio Department of Health site,” Lyons said. “To the beneficiaries within our surrounding communities who have access to the vaccine, when eligible, we just want you to get vaccinated so that you, your family, friends and others can be safe.”

The 120 Airmen who deployed joined about 2,700 other military medical and support personnel from the Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force already supporting vaccination efforts in California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

For more information regarding the different deployment teams and community vaccination centers, refer to the FEMA playbook at www.fema.gov/sites/default/files/documents/fema_community-vaccination-centers_playbook_03-12-2021.pdf.