Twenty-nine days after Winn Army Community Hospital distributed its first coronavirus vaccination on the installation, it began providing the second dose on Jan. 22 to emergency responders, healthcare providers, and critical workforce. Personnel planning to deploy, other essential workers, and beneficiaries aged 75 and older were invited to take the vaccine as Winn ACH moved into Phase 1b.
Three days later, on Jan. 25, Winn ACH invited its beneficiaries 65 to 74 years old to call for COVID-19 vaccine appointments at 435-6633, Option 3, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mon. through Fri. When the remaining TRICARE populations are eligible, it will be announced locally on the Winn ACH social media platform facebook.com/winncares.
“We are excited to move to the next phases of COVID-19 vaccination. We plan to offer COVID-19 vaccine to all of our eligible beneficiaries according Department of Defense phases. It will take some time as our vaccine supply is limited currently. We’ll be providing information as soon as it becomes available. ” Col Julie Freeman stated. Winn Army Community Hospital currently distributes the Moderna Vaccine. It is provided in two-doses, scheduled at least 28 days apart.
“The Moderna vaccine is a messenger RNA (Ribonucleic acid) based vaccine that essentially tells your immune cells to make a harmless protein - called a spike protein,” said Col. Nia Middleton, Deputy Commander for Clinical Services at Winn Army Community Hospital. “The protein is similar to the protein on the outside of the COVID-19 virus. Your body recognizes the protein as foreign and builds an immune response of antibodies, and it will then break down this mRNA, and gets rid of it.
Middleton said there is no live virus and no virus particles – adding it cannot give you COVID-19.
But Middleton said the vaccine is not for all individuals. If you have a severe allergy to the Moderna vaccine or any of the vaccine components, you should not take it. If a person has a history of immediate reaction, of any severity, to a previous vaccines– such as hives, face or lip swelling, or breathing difficulty within 4 hours of vaccination— they should let us know when they make the appointment. Individuals with a history of allergies should take their COVID-19 vaccine at Winn and not at the drive-through service when it becomes available.
Middleton said if you take the Moderna vaccine, the second dose must also be Moderna – you cannot mix vaccines. The vaccine will also restrict flight duty for pilots for at least 12 hours.
“We thank community members for their patience and support as we continue to distribute the vaccines in accordance with DOD and CDC guidelines,” said Winn Army Community Hospital Commander, Col. Julie Freeman. She also noted in the future, when additional vaccines become available, we are planning to open a drive-through COVID- 19 vaccination clinic.
Freeman encourages community members to follow the Winn ACH Facebook page to learn more and to learn when the various phases become open; but to continue using mitigation measures – even after taking the first vaccine – such as washing hands, wearing a mask, avoiding large crowds and maintaining a distance of about 6 feet from others. We are in this fight against COVID-19 together.