Five Taskmasters Soldiers were some of the first volunteers from 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), to be vaccinated for COVID-19 Jan. 12 at Blanchfield Army Community Hospital.
The Soldiers, who are all medical professionals assigned to C Company, 426th Brigade Support Battalion, 1st BCT, were given the Pfizer- BioNtech vaccine.
Sergeant Alejandro Rubio Leal, combat medic, C Co., 426th BSB, felt comfortable getting vaccinated because his peers and leader joined him.
“I initially felt unsure about it, but I know I’m building my immune system,” Rubio Leal said. “I volunteered because the people around me made me feel safe. Maj. Thompson got his shot with me today, and he’s our medical professional.”
Major Benjamin Thompson, brigade senior physician assistant, C Co., 426th BSB, lead from the front by getting vaccinated with his Soldiers. As a medical professional, he also wants to ensure he is protecting others around him.
“I have kids and I want them to be protected,” Thompson said. “I am the brigade senior physical assistant and I want to set the example.”
If other medics see me receive the vaccination, it may help them in their decision to volunteer to get it as well,” he said.
The vaccination process began outside the hospital with accountability procedures and COVID-19 screening. Then, BACH staff inspected personal protective equipment. After entering the hospital, the Soldiers were led upstairs to the site for additional screening, questions and a brief on the vaccine to confirm the Soldiers’ eligibility.
About 40 medical personnel are dedicated to procuring the vaccine, escorting personnel and administering the vaccine.
Major Jade Snader, chief nurse for Soldier Health Services, BACH, is the COVID-19 Vaccine officer-in-charge. She oversees all nursing services for Soldier clinics.
Snader, who was vaccinated Jan. 6, shared her testimony with the Taskmasters. She educated them on how the vaccine works.
“This is an all-volunteer process,” Snader said. “We provide them with the education and we inform them again. I’m not going to force anyone to take the shot. I will give you everything you need to make an educated decision. The choice is yours.”
Snader also explained the side effects some may experience from the vaccine. Side effects include lethargy, redness or soreness at the injection site, and a low-grade fever.
“I had some soreness in my arm and felt a little tired, but it went away three days later,” she said. “It was nothing significant.”
Within about 15 minutes, all of the Taskmasters were vaccinated. They were monitored for at least 15 minutes afterward to ensure there were not any adverse reactions to the vaccine.
If there are any issues, BACH staff are prepared to transport patients to the emergency center.
Each person who is vaccinated receives a COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card. The card has important information on it such as the lot number of the dose. The date the second dose needs to be administered also is on the card. The second dose completes the vaccination series.