SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii – On the heels of the COVID-19 vaccines being distributed as part of Operation Warp Speed, Soldiers assigned to 25th Infantry Division and U.S. Army Hawaii began receiving their initial doses the week of December 17, 2020.
The distribution plan is a phased approach that prioritizes front-line, emergency response and clinical staff workers; or those with the highest probability of contracting the virus.
“This is the first time we are on the offensive,” said Maj, Richard Detheridge, department chief, Soldier Center Medical Home, Desmond Doss Health Clinic. “This is our enemy now. It’s killing 3,000 Americans every day for the last three weeks. This is the first time we can be on the offensive with this vaccine to protect Americans; protect our health-care workers who are taking care of people with COVID.
While not mandatory, the clinic had no issue finding more than 500 volunteers to receive the vaccines and show they want to do their part.
“I wanted to take the shot as soon as I could,” said, Maj. Christopher Middleman, battalion surgeon, 325th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Inf. Div. “I wanted to instill a sense of confidence in our Soldiers and their Families.”
Middleman, a native of Esparto, California, went on to press the importance of trusting the vaccine and supporting those who developed it.
“When our scientists work hard and do their best to come up with solutions to such threats as COVID-19, we should have a sense of confidence in their work.”
From the dangers of COVID-19 to isolation caused by cities and states shutting down, some see this as a glimpse of hope and a positive way to end 2020.
“The vaccine is important because it will allow people to get back to some sort of normal,” said Pfc. Allen James, healthcare specialist, Headquarters Support Company, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 25th Inf. Div. “It’s been a rough year and I couldn’t think of a better way to end it.”
With this just one phase of the overall mission, there is still a long road ahead.