NY National Guard among the first in military to receive the COVID-19 vaccine

New York News

WATERVLIET N.Y. (NEWS10) — The New York Army National Guard will be first in line throughout all branches of the military to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The New York Army National Guard is taking part in the Department of Defense COVID-19 vaccine distribution pilot program.

44,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses will be distributed across the country in 16 locations. One of the 16 locations is at the NY National Guard Medical Command in Watervliet. Once the vaccine comes to the medical command, it will be sent out across the state to national guard members. “The senior staff at the Watervliet Arsenal, the site of our Medical Command, are preparing the plan to receive the vaccine and of course the distribution will go to our army and air National Guard personnel from across the state,” says Col. Richard Goldenberg, Public Affairs Officer for the New York National Guard.

Through the DOD distribution process, 975 COVID-19 vaccines will come to New York, which means 975 National Guard members will be vaccinated.

“We are part of that early test bed to process of the receipt, distribution, and administration of the vaccine so when the wider roll-out comes across the entire Department of Defense, we gather valuable lessons learned. This is probably the first step in the end game of the COVID-19 vaccination program,” says Col. Goldenberg.

Col. Goldenberg says many National Guard members are ready for this vaccine distribution process. He says this vaccine is not much different from the other vaccines members have already received during their military careers. “Annually, our members get flu shots. Our medical command based in Watervliet already has a system in place to understand the process of receiving thousands of doses, preparing for a single location site for administration, and processing men and women to go through the line to get their annual flu shot and record it in their medical records,” says Col. Goldenberg.

The COVID-19 vaccine can be in New York as early as next week. On Thursday, the US panel endorsed widespread use of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Now, the Food and Drug Administration needs to be approve it. The vaccine isn’t mandatory for National Guard members, however it’s highly recommend.

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