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127 Wing Airmen receive COVID-19 vaccine

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Andrew Schumann
  • 127th Wing Public Affairs

SELFRIDGE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mich. – Approximately two dozen members of the 127th Wing began receiving the COVID-19 vaccine here on Jan. 8, 2021 when more than 60 personnel received the shots, administered by Wing health technicians.

About two dozen of the Wings firefighters previously received the vaccine through the local Macomb County Health Department. More doses of the vaccine are expected to be received at Selfridge on an ongoing basis in coming weeks.

“This is a vaccine unlike any other vaccine prior to now,” said Tech. Sgt. Brian Faulkner, a health technician and 17-year veteran with the 127th Medical Group here. “This is the first time [vaccine producers] have had unlimited resources thrown at [vaccine development], including scientists, research, everything possible.”

Faulkner has been one of the leaders in the distribution effort at the base, with duties including ordering and coordinating the supply of the vaccine, then delivering the vaccine to base Airmen and educating colleagues.

As part of the immunization process, the Airmen are provided a Center for Disease Control (CDC) form, which will be used to provide for official proof of vaccination, which is likely to be necessary for traveling in the coming months and years. 

At present time, the vaccine is given on a voluntary basis. A priority effort was developed to allow those in high risk categories to receive their first dose.

As hundreds of Airmen prepare for the opportunity to receive their vaccine, there are many who are opting not to receive the vaccine, or delaying their decision. Among the first to receive a shot at Selfridge was Senior Master Sgt. Deborah Simpson, from the 127th Force Support Squadron, who said her decision to receive the vaccine on Friday was a personal one.

“My husband got COVID in early March,” she said. “He was sick with a fever for over 15 days, and he still has lingering side-effects, so, I don’t want the same thing to happen to me," Simpson said. "I also want to be able to help prevent it from happening to other people.”

In addressing the concerns of members who have elected not to receive the vaccine, Faulkner said he is understanding because it is a big decision to commit to, yet he's hopeful that receiving further education can improve Airmen's confidence in receiving the treatment. Current adverse reactions reported after patients receive the vaccine have proven better than many other common vaccines.

“Studies have shown that the risks are very minimal at this time," Faulkner said. "Once 1.7 million doses were given, only 23 adverse reactions were recorded, with 17 of those recipients having had an adverse vaccine reactions in the past."

Faulkner recommends members educate themselves in order to make the best decision they can. 

"If there is anything [we can do to] help minimize the risk to others, we should consider it,” Faulkner said.  

For members who are undecided on whether or not to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, information can be obtained by calling the 127th Medical Group front desk at 586-239-4973. A team of Medical Group professionals is ready to address any concerns, and provide the proper education.

The 127th Wing, in cooperation with the Michigan National Guard, has had an integral role in the state’s fight against COVID-19. Since last Spring, teams of 127th Wing members have assisted in the build-up of the TCF Center Detroit field hospital, been working at Southeast Michigan food banks, and providing infrastructure for COVID-19 mobile test sites. As efforts shift to provide vaccinations at the base, and throughout the state, the 127th Wing continues to stand ready to respond to the state and nation.