NAS Fallon Begins Vaccination Program

  • 2021-01-23, 06:00 AM
  • Leanna Lehman
NAS Fallon Begins Vaccination Program Navy personnel receiving vaccines. Photo courtesy of NAS Fallon.

Naval Air Station Fallon commanding officer, Captain Evan Morrison, along with Commander Chastain, Commander Master Chief Cook, Navy Medical Readiness and Training Unit Fallon (base medical clinic) Commander Kim Oelschlager, provided a COVID-19 vaccination update during a Town Hall meeting on Wednesday, January 19th. 
According to Captain Morrison, the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine was administered at NASF on January 15th. Clinic Commander Oelschlager reported that the first round of doses received are those manufactured by Moderna and FDA approved for those 18 and over. The base is currently following the Department of Defense population schema based on the CDC requirements. “Right now, the doses that have been received are allocated for Phase I Alpha personnel, which includes all health care workers and those that are part of the critical infrastructure, such as security forces and Fed-Fire,” stated Oelschlager.  All doses for Phase I Alpha personnel are expected to be exhausted by the end of the week, with the second dose shipment to arrive within the next couple of weeks. 
Oelschlager also reported that more doses are coming, but the question is when?  After the next shipment of first-round doses is received, the clinic will continue vaccinations according to the population schema. The next group in line to receive the vaccination is Phase I Bravo, followed by Phase I Charlie and Phase II. The plan moves through the populations beginning with critical infrastructure personnel, followed by anyone set to deploy. From there, personnel 75 and up, personnel and beneficiaries between 65 and 75, and those with chronic medical conditions will receive the vaccine. 
Soldiers on active duty will be notified by their command when the vaccine is available. Unfortunately, NASF cannot provide a timeline for vaccinations until they know when more doses will arrive. Tri-Care beneficiaries may also contact Tri-Care or local pharmacies to obtain the vaccine. NASF plans to release more information as it becomes available. 
To provide clarification, Oelschlager explained that for the Pfizer vaccine, the time between doses is 21 days, and for the Moderna vaccine, it is 28 days (with a four-day window to receive the dose before or after the scheduled second vaccination). Regarding expectations upon being vaccinated, most side effects are the body’s immune response to the vaccine. Headaches, body aches, muscle aches, and joint pain may occur and could last up to 48 hours. So far, Phase I personnel have not reported any side effects or adverse reactions. The second dose has been reported to cause more side effects as the body mounts a greater immune response. The possibility is there, but it affects everyone differently. 
Anaphylaxis is also a possible reaction for some. One of the components of the Moderna vaccine is Polyethylene glycol, a common ingredient in many cosmetics. For those with a known allergic response to the additive, it is recommended that they chose a vaccine other than Moderna. Additionally, the clinic has a response team and paramedics from Fed Fire on hand to assist if there is an adverse reaction. Also, personnel will be asked to wait 15-20 minutes after receiving the dose in case a reaction does occur. 
Vaccinations are encouraged but are voluntary. The recommendation is for everyone to continue to practice social distancing, wear masks, and take care to continue following CDC guidelines until the overall numbers are down. It is the hope that with more people vaccinated, those numbers will drop and some normalcy will be regained. 
They also encourage personnel to contact their command if they feel sick, and stay home. “Do a self-assessment every day before going to work and keep everyone safe,” stated Morrison. 
As stated by Commander Chastain, “When we are preparing warfighters and send them over the horizon, we have to play it safe.” 


Leanna Lehman



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