Michigan National Guard
Story by Master Sgt. David Kujawa
DETROIT, Mich.-- Three hundred Michigan National Guard (MING) members will receive their first round of COVID-19 vaccinations this weekend with doses received from the Department of Defense specifically for National Guard members. Precedence for receiving the vaccine will be given to service members working on COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Teams (CVTT) across the state of Michigan.
The vaccinations will be administered by Guard members who have also been supporting Michigan health care agencies, at the request of Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), in the initial vaccination of medical personnel in hospitals across the state. The Guard plans to administer the majority of these vaccines at the Detroit Light Guard Armory in Detroit beginning December 31, 2020.
“Providing vaccines to our members really allows us to go on the offense against COVID-19 in the fight for Michiganders,” said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Paul Rogers, adjutant general and director of the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. “Michigan National Guard Airmen and Soldiers take the responsibility of protecting their communities very seriously and offering the COVID-19 vaccination will enable them to safely and effectively continue this mission throughout the state.”
The National Guard is slated to receive 20% of the Department of Defense’s COVID-19 vaccinations and receipt of the immunization is voluntary. The priority for Michigan National Guard’s vaccinations issimilar to the civilian community: first, to front line health care workers, like the CVTTs, followed by those members that have duties that do not allow them to work from home.
“I’m excited to receive the vaccine because it will allow me to continue on with my duties on a CVTT without the distraction of worrying about getting really sick in the future,” said U.S. Army Cpl. Lance King serving with the Michigan National Guard’s (MING) COVID-19 Task Force Spartan. “Volunteering to receive the shot was no different than volunteering to get any other vaccine that is there to protect me.”
The MING continues to partner with Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) providing COVID-19 testing teams, antigen testing and testing training, contact tracing teams and support to long term care facilities and food banks. Since March, Michigan has deployed more than 1100 guard personnel to fight the state’s battle with COVID-19.
The National Guard continues to answer the call of states and communities when in need. MING is one of the few states’ guard who are administering the vaccinations in addition to providing administrative support during this phase of the fight against COVID-19. As the vaccine becomes available to MING members, they will be encouraged to volunteer to receive the vaccine in an effort to protect Soldiers, Airmen and their families.
“Being able to provide the COVID-19 vaccine to our military community who are out there supporting Michigan is a very positive move toward eradicating this disease,” Rogers said.
Nationwide, there are currently nearly 21,000 Soldiers and Airmen providing support to COVID-19 missions. At its high-point this year, there were more than 47,000 National Guard personnel on COVID related missions.