FORT BRAGG, N.C. (WNCN) — Army officials working the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic are encouraging military members to get the vaccine when it’s their turn.
Commander of the 44th Medical Brigade Col. James Burk is one of the first soldiers to get the COVID-19 vaccine at Womack Army Medical Center.
“I really want to set the example for our soldiers in the 44th Medical Brigade, making sure that the soldiers understand this vaccine is safe,” Burk said.
This year his unit has deployed to New York, Texas and Wisconsin to help those areas deal with an influx of COVID-19 patients.
“It has taken a toll not only on their healthcare providers, but also the entire country, and it’s quite devastating,” Burk said.
Maj. Evelyn Lomasney is the Chief of Allergy Immunology at Womack Army Medical Center.
She has helped care for critically ill COVID-19 patients this year.
“I spent eight weeks in Texas working their ward in the ICU for an overrun hospital with COVID-19, and I would not wish that on anyone,” Lomasney said. “I’ve seen the destruction this disease can do.”
Lomasney says although the vaccine was developed fast, it is safe and effective.
“We ramped up manufacturing, but the safety standards never got relaxed.”
Currently soldiers are encouraged to get a COVID-19 vaccine on a voluntary basis; it is not mandated.
“We still encourage everyone to get it,” Lomasney said. “We have full faith in the vaccine.”
Womack Army Medical Center officials can’t say how many vaccine doses they’ll be receiving, or when they will possibly get the Moderna vaccine.
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