413th ASTS administers COVID-19 vaccines

  • Published
  • By Jamal Sutter
  • 413th Flight Test Group Public Affairs
The 413th Aeromedical Staging Squadron administered their first batch of coronavirus vaccines to members of Team Robins Saturday, March 6, during the squadron’s unit training assembly (UTA).

Of the 100 doses they received from the 78th Medical Group, Robins’ host military treatment facility, the 413th ASTS administered 92.

The vaccines arrived to the squadron just the day prior, but the unit’s COVID vaccination team had been planning for distribution since late 2020, said Tech. Sgt. Takia Coleman, 413th ASTS NCO in charge of medical readiness and COVID-19 vaccine coordinator.

Planning included everything from communicating with unit health monitors and tracking names of vaccine volunteers to witnessing vaccination point of dispensing (POD) stations of the 94th ASTS, Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Georgia, and 78th MDG.

“I’m a firm believer in reaching out to and using your resources,” Coleman said. “So knowing that [the 78th MDG] had already set up their plan and their process as far as giving out vaccines, I set up for me to go and observe their process from start to finish.”

The 413th’s POD stations included member registration, a pre-vaccination briefing, provider screening, vaccination administration and a post-vaccination observation area. The post-vaccination observation area gave the team a chance to notice and address any negative reactions to the shot while members were still within reach of medical care. According to Capt. Trinh Ramirez, on one reported or showed any signs of a bad response to the vaccine.

Ramirez is the 413th ASTS immunizations clinic and COVID vaccination team officer in charge. She also works as the director of nursing innovation for South Georgia Medical Center in Valdosta, Georgia, and has seen the effects of COVID-19 first-hand. She said though she was initially uncertain on how to feel about a vaccine due to the lack of long-term studies up to this point, she now gladly accepts the risk, if it ultimately means getting the virus under control.

“There’s only one way to break this pandemic,” she said. “And that’s by hurting its immunity. This is a great opportunity for the 413th being able to be a part of this.”

One Reserve Citizen Airman who had the coronavirus in January of 2021 touched on why he decided to get the vaccine.

“I believe in science,” said Senior Airman Ryan King, 94th Aerial Port Squadron. “And I want to protect the people around me the best I can. I have family who are at high risk, so if it’s possible for me to get it again, I wouldn’t want to expose them to it.”

The vaccination POD’s success took the efforts of approximately 20 people who made up the COVID vaccination team. While running that operation, other members of the squadron continued the mission of performing physical health assessments and managing the dental clinic.

The COVID-19 vaccine is currently being given on a voluntary basis, in accordance with DoD distribution plans. The 413th ASTS will administer second doses for the original 92 members during their April UTA.