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Airmen voluntarily receive COVID-19 vaccine

Staff Sgt. Katie Farrell and Staff Sgt. Ian Miller, standing, administer the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to Airmen in the 167th Airlift Wing dining facility Feb. 6, 2021. Farrell and Miller, are members of the 167th Medical Group and currently serving in the West Virginia National Guard’s Task Force Medical- East.

Staff Sgt. Katie Farrell and Staff Sgt. Ian Miller, standing, administer the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to Airmen in the 167th Airlift Wing dining facility Feb. 6, 2021. Farrell and Miller, are members of the 167th Medical Group and currently serving in the West Virginia National Guard’s Task Force Medical- East. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Emily Beightol-Deyerle)

U.S. Army Col. Monica Law, a nurse practitioner for the West Virginia National Guard and the officer in charge of the WVNG’s Task Force Medical – East, and Master Sgt. Matthew Stickley, a member of the 167th Medical Group and currently assigned to the WVNG’s Task Force Medical – East, reconstitute Pfizer mRNA COVID-19 vaccines preparing them to be administered during a vaccination clinic at the 167th Airlift Wing, Feb.6, 2021. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Emily Beightol-Deyerle)

U.S. Army Col. Monica Law, a nurse practitioner for the West Virginia National Guard and the officer in charge of the WVNG’s Task Force Medical – East, and Master Sgt. Matthew Stickley, a member of the 167th Medical Group and currently assigned to the WVNG’s Task Force Medical – East, reconstitute Pfizer mRNA COVID-19 vaccines preparing them to be administered during a vaccination clinic at the 167th Airlift Wing, Feb.6, 2021. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Emily Beightol-Deyerle)

Lt. Col. (Dr.) Kevin Culbert, 167th Medical Group commander, delivers a virtual presentation about the COVID-19 vaccine, Feb. 6, 2021. Culbert has a background in microbiology, immunology, virology and public health and offered the presentation to help Airmen make informed decisions regarding the vaccination. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Steven Sechler)

Lt. Col. (Dr.) Kevin Culbert, 167th Medical Group commander, delivers a virtual presentation about the COVID-19 vaccine, Feb. 6, 2021. Culbert has a background in microbiology, immunology, virology and public health and offered the presentation to help Airmen make informed decisions regarding the vaccination. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Steven Sechler)

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. --

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 https://dvidshub.net/r/2cvvby

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