LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan National Guard’s Task Force North is vaccinating more than 7,500 Michigan residents a week. Two vaccination sites in Grayling and Gaylord in northern Michigan ran March 13-14.
Task Force North - 12 COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Teams (CVTT) with one medic and two administrative personnel each – help local health care departments administer vaccinations in northern Michigan counties from Saginaw through the state’s Upper Peninsula.
“Our small department of 12 employees and several volunteers could never accomplish the task of vaccinating the residents of our county without the assistance of the Michigan National Guard (MING),” said Lisa Burmeister, a social worker and site team director for Crawford County Health Department in Grayling. “The Soldiers are directing traffic, helping at processing our immunization register and administering the vaccinations. They are conducting business in the most professional manner.”
Michigan Guard CVTTs support vaccination sites at many venues across Michigan as requested by health departments.
“I could not feel better about what I am doing today,” said U.S. Army Spc. Carson Horning, a combat medic mobilized with Task Force North since Jan. 21. “It’s ironic that we're administering the vaccine at the Grayling Fire House. The coronavirus was like a fire out of control and now I think we have it controlled and soon it will be put out.”
As 2021 began, the MING increased its commitment to the safety of Michigan communities by making the vaccine as accessible as possible.
“Convenience is important for our residents and having sites set up strategically is important in many of the rural areas of northern Michigan,” said Lisa Peacock, a health officer for Otsego County Health Department in Gaylord. “Planning these events would be far more complicated without the MING’s assisting in the planning, setting up, and working the vaccination sites.”
The Soldiers and Airmen with the MING have spent several months testing for COVID-19 throughout the state, assisting at food banks and working at regional care facilities. In recent months, the MING began supporting Michigan’s vaccination efforts.
“Fighting the coronavirus is something to be proud of,” said Horning. “I enjoy meeting and working with the health care workers and we’re all in this together to help our fellow Michiganders.
“This is history that we will read about in years to come, and I will always feel good about the part I played.”