ALTAMONT, N.Y. –More than three-dozen members of the New York National Guard’s COVID-19 Task Force are assembling vaccination “pods” in an industrial park in Guilderland, New York near Albany to support the states’ effort to vaccinate New Yorkers.The pods, which are trailers that can be delivered to vaccination sites, contain everything needed to distribute the vaccine from portable walls for privacy, to the required PPE, medical and office equipment required to run a vaccination site.The first sites using these pods went into operation on January 13, as New York State opened vaccination centers at the New York State Fair Expo Center outside Syracuse, and the Westchester County Center in New York City’s suburbs.A third center at the Javits Convention Center in Manhattan, which served as a COVID-19 alternative care facility in the spring, did not need a pod to function.As of January 13, the service members had built 28 at the rate of about two hours to build one pod. The goal for them is to keep building as many as they can as supplies are continuously delivered, leaders said.“Those pods, along with the vaccine, can go out and act as a mini command center,” said Sgt. James Thomas, a platoon sergeant from the 133rd Composite Supply Company based at Fort Hamilton, Brooklyn.The mission to build the pods started immediately after Christmas said Spc. Steven Aviles, assigned to the 145th Support Maintenance Company. The pods, which are trailers from the New York State Department of Emergency Services, started being delivered to be packed full of the necessary equipment, he continued.The Guardsmen have a setup of a completed pod for reference, along with a checklist of everything that needs to go into making them. As items are loaded and packed in a very specific way, they are marked off the checklist.“Probably over 100 items go into these pods,” said Thomas. “Pretty much and kind of supplies you would need to operate on the go.”Once items arrive to the warehouse, the Guardsmen unload the trailers and organize them throughout the warehouse according to what type of item it is. It is then added to their inventory so they can track how much of each item they have.“There’s a manifest that goes with every trailer,” said Thomas. “So pretty much what we do is separate it and then pull out the items for the pods, stage them and once we get all of the items we put them in the trailers.”“This is the only warehouse that’s working with items to buildout pods for the vaccine,” said Aviles.Aviles and Thomas said they have a very good system of working with the different agencies that are on-site and have developed an efficient system of building the pods as quickly as they can.As a joint operation, the Guard members are working with several agencies including New York’s Department of Emergency Management, Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, along with the incident commander of the pods' mission being a forest ranger.The mission is being carried out by troops such as Thomas and Aviles who have been on active duty since March of 2020 when the State of New York first activated Guard to respond to the pandemic.“There’s a lot of entities involved with this mission,” said Thomas. “It’s pretty cool that you have different agencies coming together for a good cause and one mission and one goal.”The Soldiers also explained that once they roll out, they will be transported by another state agency will the Guardsmen continue their COVID-19 taskings.“It’s been pretty nonstop,” said Aviles.According to Aviles, the trailers must be ready to go at a moment's notice.“It feels good to pretty much give back, sacrifice and give back to the community,” said Thomas. “Especially during a time like this, so it feels good to help in any way I can.”For more National Guard newsNational Guard FacebookNational Guard TwitterHow the National Guard is helpingPhotos of the National Guard responseLatest from the CDC