By Senior Airman Edward Michon
167th Airlift Wing
Approximately 60 airmen from the 167th Airlift Wing continue COVID-19 relief efforts throughout West Virginia, remaining a key component in the fight against the pandemic.
Since the start of the pandemic, the 167th Airlift Wing and West Virginia National Guard have activated several tasks forces to aid in West Virginia’s battle against COVID-19, focusing on categories such as administration, epidemiology, medical and vaccine distribution.
Task Force Epi, lead by Maj. Blake Bennett, is combining its vaccine clinics for both Berkeley and Jefferson counties and beginning this week, will be holding the vaccine clinic for public use at the Charles Town Race Track in Charles Town, West Virginia.
This group, a mixture of Army and Air National Guard members, was originally tasked with contact tracing, but is now supporting data entry at vaccine clinics.
“My folks did a great job of adjusting to the change in mission,” said Maj. Bennett.
Another group, Task Force Vaccine, has distributed approximately 140,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine since its inception in December of 2020, according to Maj. Terrence Etuk, Officer in Charge of Distribution Hub 5.
These very vaccines are those used at vaccine clinics hosted by the 167th Airlift Wing for its airmen and their families, such as the one hosted in the base dining facility by members of Task Force Medical-East on Sunday, Apr. 11 during April’s unit training assembly.
The recent vaccination clinic, administering the Pfizer mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, a two-dose vaccination series, brought the total percentage of fully vaccinated wing members to just over 33%, with an additional small percentage receiving the first dose.
Receiving the vaccine is still voluntary but members are encouraged to volunteer in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine early.
“We are lucky to be able to provide [the vaccine] to our forces so early,” said Lt. Col. (Dr.) Kevin Culbert, 167th Medical Group commander. “You’re a priority, not only to our defense but our economy is dependent upon enough people getting the vaccine early.”
167th AW Airmen who have not yet been vaccinated, but want to be, should contact the 167th Medical Group to request a vaccine.