FLOWOOD, Miss. (WJTV) – The Mississippi National Guard has more than 1,000 soldiers and airmen serving as first responders against COVID-19. These guard troops are actively involved in COVID-19 testing across the state.
On Wednesday morning, 100 members from the military who serve on the front lines were vaccinated at the 172nd Airlift Wing Facility in Flowood.
It’s specifically for the men and women who have been working at the Mississippi Department of Health’s drive-thru testing sites across the state.
“They’re just like a front line health worker. They’re exposed to people, positive with COVID-19 repeatedly throughout the day, so it was critically important they be offered the vaccine as soon as it was available,” said Lt. Colonel Jeremy Parker, a joint task force commander.
Mississippi is just one of sixteen states that the Department of Defense picked to receive the Moderna vaccine during the initial phase 1A, designated to vaccinate military first responders and health care workers.
JOHN RAINES/ COMMAND SENIOR ENLISTED LEADER OVER MS NATIONAL GUARD
“Anytime that we have a mission given by the governor in this case this is a state mission, you know we’re ready to respond. When you train up for things you always appreciate when the opportunity comes for you to put that training in place and go out there and help in this case the communities we live in,” said John Raines.
The 100 doses are allocated from the Department of Defense’s distribution, so the vaccinations do not take away any meant for Mississippi’s medical personnel.
“Additionally, we have a team that goes out to the 90 sites of the health department to ensure quality once we push these soldiers out there so lot of hard work on that,” said Lt. Colonel Christopher Powe.
Typically the Mississippi National Guard supports MEMA, but with the state department of health taking the lead in combatting the COVID-19 pandemic, members of the state’s national guard say they are glad to extend their efforts and be a supporting role in the state’s fight against the pandemic.