Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

COVID-19 vaccine rollout ongoing in U.S. Army Central footprint

Two healthcare workers, wearing masks, adding the COVID-19 vaccine to syringes Army Specialists Michael Meza and John Cera, healthcare specialists with the 228th Combat Support Hospital, draw doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine from vials at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, Jan. 18, 2021. Camp Arifjan is utilizing a phased distribution of the vaccine, as specified by the Department of Defense, beginning with medical personnel and first responders. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Noel Gerig)

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit

The COVID-19 vaccination program in the U.S. Army Central’s area of operations is underway.

“The COVID-19 vaccine has begun coming into theater,” said Army Brig. Gen. Justin Swanson, commanding general of the Army Reserve 310th Expeditionary Sustainment Command.

Swanson is also the deputy commanding general of 1st Theater Sustainment Command, which is based at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and also has a forward deployed headquarters established at Camp Arifjan in Kuwait. The forward deployed headquarters, which operates as an operational command post, or 1st TSC-OCP, is staffed with rotations from subordinate echelons of mobilized active-duty and reserve component units, providing sustainment and logistics support to U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, as well as to units throughout the Middle East.

The 1st TSC, working hand-in-hand with 3rd Medical Command-Deployment Support, coordinated the transport and storage of the vaccine in theater. The initial tranche or portion of the vaccine arrived around mid-January and administration began shortly after its arrival.

Those who received the initial doses of vaccine were at the top of a prioritized list of personnel, which 1st TSC developed in accordance with the Department of Defense’s vaccine distribution guidance.

“Some of the soldiers, even on our staff have been vaccinated—but only our medical personnel at this point,” said Swanson, who is himself a COVID-19 survivor.

“The priority is the same here as it is in CONUS,” said the general, who before his 1993 commission, served as a combat medic in the Louisiana National Guard. “As the vaccines and the number of doses grows, we have built a prioritization model for our entire footprint.”

In addition to prioritizing medical personnel, other military personnel targeted in the first phase of vaccinations are in jobs where their interactions with other Soldiers make them particularly vulnerable, he said.

The second tranche of vaccines, scheduled to arrive in the near future, will serve as the second doses for personnel, who received the first tranche, he said. Then, subsequent tranches are set to vaccinate personnel in Afghanistan and other regions.

Army Col. Jennifer Marrast Host, the commander of 3rd MCDS's forward headquarters at Camp Arifjan, said the vaccination program in theater is a priority for every one of her “Desert Medic” Soldiers.

The 3rd MCDS is responsible for executing strategic medical operations across the entire U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.

According to the colonel, the vaccine administered by her soldiers is produced by Moderna, which requires two doses approximately 28 days apart.

"We watch someone very closely for about 15 minutes after the injection to make sure they are not having a negative response," she said. "After that, they are ready to get back to work." Marrast Host said the side effects are relatively minor.

"There might be some muscle aching, localized swelling or a low-grade fever-you might just feel under the weather," she said.

"It is more likely that you would have some of the side effects after the second dose, but it is also sometimes after the first one," she said.

The colonel said the most important consideration for rolling out the vaccine to specific regions or installations is the availability of freezers and refrigerators.

"The vaccine must be frozen as it is transported around," she said. "After it is thawed, it is good to be used for 30 days, as long it is kept refrigerated--but it cannot be moved.

Swanson said distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine and COVID-19 mitigation are top priorities for the 1st TSC.

"What the 1st TSC will do from a distribution standpoint—one of the things that we do as our mission set—we will move the vaccine just like any other commodity that we move—and we move all commodities across the battlefield,” he said.

“Once it comes into theater, we will move it where it needs to be—any of the countries or locations, where we have U.S. forces—or forces that we will provide the vaccine for,” he said. “We have already gone through the first couple tranches of distribution and that will continue to grow, as will the number of doses continue to grow.”

The vaccine is currently voluntary for military personnel, but Swanson’s staff have surveyed troops to ask who is uncomfortable with the vaccine and who is willing to receive it.

“The vaccine is voluntary, at this point,” he said. “We understand who will volunteer to take the vaccine and who won’t—and we are prepared to support, once doses of vaccine hit the ground.”

You also may be interested in...

MHS Town Hall, May 12, 2021

Video
5/12/2021
MHS and Military OneSource COVID-19 Townhall, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Wednesday 12 May

Tune in for another MHS and Military OneSource Town Hall with the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

MHS Celebrates National Hospital Week

Video
5/12/2021
Image for National Hospital Week with text, "A Week in the Life."

During National Hospital Week, we highlight all of the training efforts and safety protocols the Military Health System has put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | May Toolkit | May Military and Health Observances

Got Your 6 - May 6, 2021

Video
5/6/2021
Video screen image for the May 6, 2021 Got Your Six video

"Got Your 6" is TRICARE's COVID-19 vaccine video series that delivers important information and updates, three times a month. It includes the latest information about DoD vaccine distribution, the TRICARE health benefit, and vaccine availability for a DoD-affiliated, and TRICARE beneficiary audience.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Toolkit | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit

COVID-19 Townhall, April 28, 2021

Video
4/27/2021
Town Hall image of Lt. Col. Matthew T. Swingholm, Armed Services Blood Program

Tune in for another COVID-19 vaccine update with Lt. Col. Matthew T. Swingholm, Armed Services Blood Program

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Armed Services Blood Program

Got Your 6 - April 26, 2021

Video
4/26/2021
Video screen image for the April 26, 2021 Got Your Six video

"Got Your 6" is TRICARE's COVID-19 vaccine video series that delivers important information and updates, three times a month. It includes the latest information about DoD vaccine distribution, the TRICARE health benefit, and vaccine availability for a DoD-affiliated, and TRICARE beneficiary audience.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Toolkit | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit

Donate Blood: It's Mission Critical

Video
4/21/2021
DHA Seal

The pandemic has affected nearly every part of our lives, including reductions in blood donations. Find a military blood donor center today to donate blood in a safe environment where we take all precautions against COVID-19.

Recommended Content:

Armed Services Blood Program | Coronavirus

Got Your 6 - April 16, 2021

Video
4/16/2021
Video screen image for the April 16, 2021 Got Your Six video

"Got Your 6" is TRICARE's COVID-19 vaccine video series that delivers important information and updates, three times a month. It includes the latest information about DoD vaccine distribution, the TRICARE health benefit, and vaccine availability for a DoD-affiliated, and TRICARE beneficiary audience.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Toolkit | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit

COVID-19 Townhall, April 14, 2021

Video
4/14/2021
MHS and Military OneSource COVID-19 Townhall, Major General (Dr.) George N. Appenzeller, Wednesday 14 April

Tune in for another COVID-19 vaccine update with Major General George N. Appenzeller, DHA Assistant Director for Combat Support

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit

Got Your 6 - April 6, 2021

Video
4/6/2021
Image of soldier for the April 6, 2021 "Got Your Six" video

"Got Your 6" is TRICARE's COVID-19 vaccine video series that delivers important information and updates, three times a month. It includes the latest information about DoD vaccine distribution, the TRICARE health benefit, and vaccine availability for a DoD-affiliated, and TRICARE beneficiary audience.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Toolkit | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit

Got Your 6 - March 26, 2021

Video
3/26/2021
Got Your 6 - March 26, 2021

"Got Your 6" is TRICARE's COVID-19 vaccine video series that delivers important information and updates, three times a month. It includes the latest information about DoD vaccine distribution, the TRICARE health benefit, and vaccine availability for a DoD-affiliated, and TRICARE beneficiary audience.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Toolkit | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit

Q & A About the COVID Vaccines with Lt. Gen. Place

Video
3/23/2021
Q & A About the COVID Vaccines with Lt. Gen. Place

Q&A with the DHA Director at the "Military-Connected Families & the COVID-19 Vaccine" Town Hall

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | COVID-19 Toolkit

COVID-19 Townhall, March 23, 2021

Video
3/22/2021
Col Jennifer Garrison

Tune in for another COVID-19 vaccine update with Col. Jennifer Garrison, team lead for the DOD’s vaccine rollout.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit

Got Your 6: Step Up

Video
3/18/2021
Got Your 6: Step Up

“Got Your 6” is TRICARE’s COVID-19 vaccine video series that delivers important information and updates, three times a month. It includes the latest information about DoD vaccine distribution, the TRICARE health benefit, and vaccine availability for a DoD-affiliated, and TRICARE beneficiary audience.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Toolkit | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit

TRICARE | COVID-19 Vaccine | Together, We Are Stronger

Video
3/15/2021
DHA Seal

In the past year, we've faced challenges, and we've done it with courage. Now, hope is on the horizon. Get vaccinated, and let's take care of each other. Together, we are stronger: www.tricare.mil/CovidVaccine

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit

Secretary of Defense Video to the Force on COVID-19 Vaccinations

Video
2/24/2021
Image of soldier looking through COVID vaccine information laid out on a table

The Secretary of Defense addressed the entire workforce to encourage informed decision-making with regards to coronavirus-19 vaccination.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Toolkit | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit
<< < 1 2 3 4 > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 4

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.