U.S. Army Occupational Health Clinic staff member Debra Generose provides Tobyhanna Commander COL John McDonald with an update on workforce vaccinations.
U.S. Army Occupational Health Clinic staff member Debra Generose provides Tobyhanna Commander COL John McDonald with an update on workforce vaccinations. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

Tobyhanna Army Depot began vaccinating employees with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine early this month.

In line with U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Department of Defense (DoD) guidelines, fire, emergency service, and critical health care personnel were first in line for the depot’s initial round of vaccines. The vaccines were administered by the U.S. Army Occupational Health Clinic (AOHC), a tenant activity that resides on-post at Tobyhanna.

Fire Inspector Jeffrey Moyer was among the first depot employees to receive the vaccine. He applauded AOHC personnel for a job well done, especially when it came to making him feel comfortable.

“My experience getting the vaccine was excellent. Depot personnel provided ample information to me in advance and the AOHC staff was also able to answer my questions. I truly do not think there is any reason to be afraid of this vaccination. Just like the flu shot, you get it to protect yourself and your family. This is exactly the same situation.”

Looking back, Moyer says he has no regrets about his decision to get the vaccine.

“As a member of the Fire and Emergency Services team, it is vital for me to remain healthy and protect the others I work with here at Tobyhanna. I also have a close family member who is immunocompromised and I want to do anything I can to keep her safe. Ultimately, I believe getting this vaccine is the next step in returning to normal life.”

According to Depot Sergeant Major Shantae Gordon, getting the COVID-19 vaccine was no different than any other vaccination experience. She added that, while getting the vaccine is a personal choice, she didn’t think twice when offered the opportunity.

“For me, there wasn’t a thought as to whether or not to receive it [the vaccination].  In a sense, I feel that getting the vaccine is part of my ‘duty’ [one of the seven Army Values] and, by getting it, I'm fulfilling my obligation as a Soldier.”

The depot remains committed to supporting the acting Secretary of Defense’s priorities: protecting its people, maintaining readiness and supporting the national COVID-19 response.  Commander COL John McDonald says the choice to get a vaccine was easy for him.

“I know people who have been severely affected by COVID. They told me it was like nothing they have ever experienced. I ‘opted-in’ because there is no way to predict how the virus will affect us or who we might infect if we get it”, adding that he trusts the science behind the vaccination.

The Moderna vaccine, which will be available to Tobyhanna employees based upon the DoD population prioritization list and quantities received, was authorized for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last December. Evidence from clinical trials found Moderna’s vaccine more than 90% effective when both doses were administered properly.

According to the CDC, none of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines in the United States contain the live virus that causes COVID-19, meaning the vaccine cannot make you sick with the dangerous virus. Instead, the vaccine works by teaching your immune system how to recognize and fight off the virus that causes COVID-19.

Additional doses of the vaccine are expected to arrive at Tobyhanna in the coming weeks. The next phase will be offered to employees expected to travel in the near future and individuals who meet CDC “high-risk” guidelines. The final wave of vaccinations will be offered to otherwise healthy employees.

. COL McDonald urged employees who have concerns about getting the vaccine to seek information before making a decision.

“I encourage all members of the Tobyhanna community to think carefully and ensure they have facts from reputable sources, such as the CDC and the FDA, before making a final decision.”

For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine, please visit:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/faq.html

https://www.fda.gov/emergency-preparedness-and-response/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19/covid-19-vaccines

Tobyhanna Army Depot is a recognized leader in providing world-class logistics support for command, control, communications, computers, cyber, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C5ISR) systems across the Department of Defense. Tobyhanna’s Corporate Philosophy, dedicated work force and electronics expertise ensure the depot is the Joint C5ISR provider of choice for all branches of the Armed Forces and industry partners.

Tobyhanna’s unparalleled capabilities include full-spectrum logistics support for sustainment, overhaul and repair, fabrication and manufacturing, engineering design and development, systems integration, post production software support, technology insertion, modification, foreign military sales and global field support to our joint warfighters.

About 4,000 personnel are employed at Tobyhanna, which is located in the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania. Tobyhanna Army Depot is part of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command. Headquartered at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, the command’s mission is to empower the Soldier with winning C5ISR capabilities.