FRANKLIN, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Approximately 200 Indiana National Guard soldiers and airmen received the COVID vaccination today at the Johnson County Armory.
The Hoosier Guardsmen who received the vaccination have been on the frontline of pandemic response missions, including at long-term care facilities, COVID testing sites, protective equipment distribution warehouses and food banks.
Select Hoosier Guardsmen are receiving vaccinations as part of a U.S. Department of Defense program that allocated doses, in a program separate from the shipments of vaccine the state of Indiana is receiving for frontline civilian healthcare workers. Indiana and New York are the first two National Guard states to pilot this Defense Department program.
“In March, we answered the governor’s call to stand with the state in the fight against the spread of the virus,” said Brig. Gen. Dale Lyles, Indiana National Guard adjutant general. “Our soldiers and airmen responded by filling critical roles across the state, standing shoulder to shoulder with our fellow Hoosiers as we tackle this insidious virus.”
The Guardsmen, medics who are trained by Army or Air Force instructors, also took Centers for Disease Control and Prevention courses specific to the coronavirus, including administering the COVID-19 vaccination and best practices for patient care and curbside or drive-thru immunization activities.
“I have such a strong sense of pride and honor that the Indiana National Guard is helping to lead the way out of the pandemic,” said Col. Michael Jones, Indiana Army National Guard state surgeon. “Our Guardsmen, as well as Hoosiers, are better protected by receiving and assisting in the administration of the COVID vaccine.”
Since the pandemic response missions began in March, Indiana Guardsmen have been in the trenches fighting the COVID-19 battle primarily on the defensive with masks, sanitizing and distancing techniques.