Nashville, Tennessee – As of July 1, 2021, the Tennessee National Guard has helped administer more than one million COVID-19 coronavirus vaccinations throughout Tennessee since the start of Operation Warp Speed.
Tennessee Soldiers and Airmen worked alongside the Tennessee Department of Health, the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, and various other agencies playing critical roles in the planning and immunization of Tennessee citizens when the vaccine became available last November.
“Our soldiers and airmen who volunteered to serve in the fight against COVID-19 have done an exemplary job,” said Lt. Col. Justin Olander, commander of Joint Task Force – Medical, who is responsible for COVID -19 Tennessee National Guard. reply. âThey have sacrificed so much to put their communities first, and we will continue to do so for as long as we need to. “
The Tennessee National Guard initially activated 250 soldiers and airmen on March 23, 2020, at the request of Governor Bill Lee, to help operate the COVID-19 test sites. Lee also created the Unified Command Group to streamline the state’s response to the pandemic and established test sites across the state supported by the Tennessee National Guard.
âNot only have we passed one million vaccinations, but the Tennessee Guard has helped test nearly 900,000 citizens for COVID-19,â said Major General Jeff Holmes, adjutant general of Tennessee. âAnd we still support the efforts of the state in both missions. The guards have assisted in all counties in the state and continue to operate in more than 50 counties providing tests and vaccinations to our citizens. “
More than 700 soldiers and airmen are currently on orders to support the fight against COVID-19.
In addition to operating testing and vaccination sites, members of the Joint Working Group – Medical conducted testing in long-term care facilities and correctional facilities for residents and staff. The Tennessee National Guard also operated pop-up testing centers in public housing complexes and public housing in urban Tennessee communities.
In April, Col. Jason Glass, Assistant Adjutant General of Tennessee, Air, was appointed dual-status commander for the military effort to help immunize the citizens of Memphis. In partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and state and local agencies, Glass leads a team of approximately 130 Navy and Marine Corps personnel with the 2nd Marine Division. Sailors and Marines, organized into Vaccine Support Teams, helped support a city-run and federally-supported community vaccination center located in the Pipkin Building at the Memphis Fairgrounds.
In addition, the guard also formed an Infectious Disease Team, a group of specialists tasked with inspecting hospitals and alternative care facilities statewide to develop effective safety protocols and procedures for communities in. risk. Members of the Guard were instrumental in collecting and distributing personal protective equipment, collecting supplies and delivering them to hospitals, law enforcement and those most in need.
âThe men and women of the Tennessee National Guard have faced so much adversity since last year,â said Holmes. âThey have sacrificed so much to remain vigilant and flexible in the fight against this virus, overcoming all obstacles to provide vital services to members of our communities, and I could not be more proud. “
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