Nurse giving man shot
Tooele Army Depot security guard, Matthew Keener, receives Moderna vaccine from registered nurse, Sharon Jacobsen. The vaccine will be offered to first responders first. (Photo Credit: Jeremy M. Laird) VIEW ORIGINAL

Protecting our people—that is what offering the COVID-19 vaccine means for Tooele Army Depot.

TEAD’s health clinic staff started vaccinating the workforce mid-January. Depot leaders are taking a phased approach to vaccine distribution. Firefighters and law enforcement/security will be the first to receive the vaccine followed by health clinic personnel and high-risk employees.

TEAD firefighter, Capt. Arnoldo Velasco, was one of the very first on depot to get the vaccine. For him, the vaccine is a good first step toward a return to “normal,” but as a firefighter, it keeps him safer on the job.

“We put ourselves in danger of exposure to COVID every time we get called out, and the vaccine definitely offers protection from that,” Velasco said.

TEAD Security assistant Nathan Gordon rolled up his sleeve for the vaccination the first day it was offered. All semi-truck drivers coming on the depot check in with Gordon to receive a temporary badge. He comes in contact with dozens of folks from around the country every day.

“I firmly believe that everyone has a responsibility to help prevent the spread of diseases. This is a simple way for me to do my part and help protect those whom I work with and more importantly my family,” Gordan said.

Receiving the vaccine is purely voluntary, and the decision is left up to each individual employee. Dr. Steven Tobler, physician at TEAD’s health clinic, encourages everyone to receive the vaccine and thinks it is important for them, their families, community, and co-workers.

“Folks who have not been part of the vaccine process can’t imagine the steps that it takes to get a vaccine approved. We have now given millions of doses of this vaccine,” Tobler said. A smartphone-based tool called v-safe is allowing the Centers for Disease Control to gather near real-time data on the side-effects of the vaccine, Tobler explained.

As additional doses become available, TEAD will expand distribution out to the wider workforce ensuring that the depot remains ready to deliver ready, reliable munitions to the Joint Forces.

“The vaccine is another weapon in our arsenal to battle COVID-19 and keep our workforce safe, so we can continue to support the nation’s Warfighter. The first round of vaccines will protect those who protect our workforce and Tooele County,” said Col. Steven Dowgielewicz, commander, TEAD.