U.S. Army Col. Eric Allely, Maryland National Guard state surgeon, observes a MDNG medical Soldier draw a COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe Jan. 18, 2020, at the Maryland State House, Annapolis, Md. Members from the MDNG Medical Detachment and 224th Medical Company Area Support administered the vaccines to Gov. Larry Hogan, Lt. Gov. Boyd K. Rutherford, their wives, and Maryland Deputy Health Secretary Dr. Jinlene Chan. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Sarah McClanahan)
MIDDLE RIVER, Maryland – Maryland Army National Guard (MDNG) Mobile Vaccination Support Teams are working hard supporting COVID-19 vaccination efforts around the state.
At Gov. Larry Hogan’s direction, the MDNG created the MVSTs to help state and local health officials administer vaccinations in accordance with the state’s COVID-19 vaccination plan.
“This is just another great example of the responsiveness and agility of our National Guard,” Hogan said. “Whether it was the massive response when the pandemic first hit last spring or the incredibly rapid deployment to the Capitol just recently, they’ve never failed to come through in a crisis.”
Since the MVST effort kicked off on Jan. 6, the MDNG has assisted county vaccination efforts in Charles, Prince George’s, Talbot, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, St. Mary’s and Cecil counties. As of Jan. 21, MDNG MVSTs had administered more than 6,000 immunizations against COVID-19 and were supporting an average of six locations a day. These efforts are continuing to ramp up as more counties request support and more vaccine becomes available.
The teams of medical professionals and support personnel come from both the Maryland Army National Guard and the Maryland Air National Guard.
“Once again, we’re breaking new ground in the fight against COVID-19,” said Army Major General (MG) Timothy E. Gowen, the Adjutant General for Maryland. “Last year, it was helping to protect the most vulnerable at nursing homes. Now, we’re helping get the vaccine to the people who need it most. Neither of these are traditional military missions, and it really shows the versatility of our Citizen-Soldiers and Citizen-Airmen that they can pivot so quickly to tackle new missions.”
In addition to the county-led efforts, the state also has plans to establish mass vaccination sites in Maryland. The MDNG is working closely with state health officials in planning and preparing for the launch of these sites as soon as early February.
The MDNG has also deployed troops to help local health departments operate coronavirus testing sites.
Approximately 375 members of the Maryland National Guard are now on duty supporting the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Army National Guard offers medical career opportunities that provide essential training in health care procedures and incomparable experience with emergency response, as states call on medical specialists to care for victims during disasters. These professionals perform well under pressure and possess skills that translate to hospital work. Whichever medical career you choose, you can be sure that your job will be as rewarding as it is challenging.
From an original article by Lt. Col. Wayde Minami, 175th WG - Maryland Air National Guard, which appeared in the news section of nationalguard.mil on Jan. 22, 2021.