FORT BENNING, Ga. - Martin Army Community Hospital begins administering drive-thru COVID-19 vaccinations March 3, bringing an innovative solution to a logistical challenge.
As Fort Benning began to vaccinate more of the high-risk community, MACH recognized an issue. People waiting in long lines outside of clinics to receive the shot. The process was cumbersome, and for some, taxing.
The solution was to move the operation to the parking lot of the old hospital and allow people to stay in their cars. Medical personnel from various units on Fort Benning came together to make this process as efficient as possible.
Staff Sgt. Samantha Schwigen, from the 316th Cavalry Brigade, is in charge of the medic portion of the process. She said the biggest challenge with the drive-thru process is dealing with the weather, to which everyone adapted quickly. Four large tents and a few coolers helped the crew prepare for inclement weather. Throughout the morning, Schwigen observed that, despite the flaws, the general sentiment is people are appreciative.
Capt. Benjamin Stone, the officer-in-charge of the operation, is confident continuous improvement will increase through-put. With the nature of the situation, a full-scale rehearsal was not possible before beneficiaries arrived.
“The focus is to get shots in arms,” he said.
Stone said he is honored to help get this project going. To him, this is one of the most important things the hospital supported, namely because it helps protect the community.
Neal Denoux and his wife Susan received a phone call about this opportunity and decided to come get their vaccinations. Neal, dressed in a purple Hawaiian shirt, preferred the drive-thru vaccination to his other vaccination experiences at Fort Benning because it allowed him to relax and dress as he wanted.
“I’ve been coming here since 1959,” he said. “It was excellent then and it is excellent now.”
The drive-thru vaccination is available to High-Risk Beneficiaries and those 65 and older. To receive a vaccine, those who meet the criteria must call MACH Central Appointments at 762-408-2273 to schedule a vaccination.
The vaccine is being administered at 7950 Martin Loop. Those who have an appointment are required to wear a short sleeve top.