Airmen voluntarily receive COVID-19 vaccine

  • Published
  • By Capt Stacy Gault and Senior Master Sgt. Emily Beightol-Deyerle
  • 167th Airlift Wing

The West Virginia National Guard’s Task Force Medical-East conducted a vaccination clinic at the 167th Airlift Wing during the wing’s unit training assembly, Feb. 6 and 7.

The weekend vaccination clinic saw more than 150 Airmen receive their first dose of the Pfizer mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, a two-dose vaccination series recommended at least three weeks apart.

The WVNG’s Task Force Medical –East first offered the vaccine to 167th Airmen in late December and again in January. Almost one-third of the 167th’s Airmen have received the first dose of the vaccine so far, and a small group of Airmen have received both first and second doses. 

The vaccines are being offered under an Emergency Use Authorization and are voluntary for unit members until full FDA approval is achieved.

Lt. Col. (Dr.) Kevin Culbert, 167th Medical Group commander, held an information session about the vaccine Feb. 6 to explain how the vaccine works and address any questions or concerns for Airmen as they decide whether to receive the vaccine. He saw the opportunity to educate members necessary given his observation of vaccine hesitancy, even within the civilian health care community treating COVID-19 patients.

“I’m a physician, not a salesmen,” Culbert said, adding how important it is to understand how the mRNA technology works and that it is safe. “I realize there is a lack of information or misinformation [regarding the COVID-19 vaccine].”

Culbert has studied microbiology, immunology and virology during his undergraduate education and completed a master’s degree in public health. Unit members could attend in person or via teleconference to maximize attendance and allow for social distancing. He encouraged all eligible members to educate themselves and strongly consider being vaccinated for the benefit of all. 

“It’s helping ourselves and it’s helping the unit, but also your own families, community, and the economy as a whole.”

Culbert’s presentation can be viewed online at

167th AW Airmen who have not been vaccinated but want to be, can contact the 167th Medical Group to request the vaccine.