WIESBADEN, Germany — Over 70 Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 214th Aviation Regiment, 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, received their second and final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Feb. 24 in Wiesbaden, Germany.
The Cougar Battalion frequently supports multi-national partner training and major exercises, including the upcoming Defender Europe 21 series of exercises, in addition to constant Army fixed-wing operations.
“We’re a deployable unit here in Wiesbaden and we’re getting ready to go to Defender Europe 21 to participate in Swift Response,” said Capt. (Dr.) Charles Behnfield, a flight surgeon with the 12th CAB. “We’re trying to mitigate the COVID risk. Of course, we’re always wearing our masks, maintaining our work bubbles and social distancing, but having the vaccine for our service members and air crews is going to reduce that risk even more.”
A wide spectrum of Soldiers, warrant officers and officers from support crews to pilots all volunteered to take the vaccine.
“The first shot side effects weren’t as severe as a lot of people said they were,” said Spc. Alyssa Lore, a UH-60 Black Hawk crew chief with 12th CAB.
Lore also stated she was motivated to get the shot to limit the potential for her to transmit the virus to loved ones. “I volunteered for the shot because my Mom is at higher risk, and I’m hoping to go home, hopefully soon, to see her and all my siblings,” she said.
This group of Soldiers received the first Moderna vaccine dose at the end of January, and the recommended schedule of doses for this particular vaccine is 28 days apart.
After healthcare personnel and first responders, high-risk populations and highly-deployable forces here in Europe like 12th CAB become a priority. “It’s a huge logistical picture to get thousands of people their vaccine and get them on the right timeline,” said Behnfield. “Generally speaking, fourteen days after receiving the second dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine we consider them to be protected from COVID-19.”