FORT IRWIN, Calif. – Staff from Weed Army Community Hospital began vaccinating eligible beneficiaries in Tier 2 with the COVID-19 vaccine April 13, here.
Fort Irwin transitioned to Tier 2, formerly known as Phase 2, of the Department of Defense’s population schema April 7.
Under Tier 2, healthy uniformed personnel, including Pvt. Lucas McEachran, a chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear specialist with Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 2nd Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, can now get vaccinated.
McEachran said he volunteered to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as he learned they were available to all eligible beneficiaries on Fort Irwin.
“A lot of people I know have gotten affected by COVID,” the 19-year-old Fresno, Calif. native said. “I haven’t caught it yet though, so I’m just trying to get the [COVID-19 vaccine] out of the way now.”
Even if individuals do not think they will suffer from extreme COVID-19 symptoms if they contract the virus, McEachran said he recommends they get the COVID-19 vaccine because it is less about them and more about others.
“I’m also in the age bracket where if I did get [COVID-19], I wouldn’t even know … but I feel better knowing I won’t have to worry about being asymptomatic and giving it to someone who couldn’t really fight it,” McEachran said. “I’m just trying to show my support for the medical community doing their best to get us out of this pandemic.”
Maj. Kristina Bartee, Weed ACH’s chief of operations and COVID-19 vaccine coordinator, said Weed ACH is excited to be able to offer the COVID-19 vaccine to all Fort Irwin beneficiaries age 16 and up who choose to receive it.
“We currently have an abundance of appointments available, and encourage all those interested in getting vaccinated to sign up through our online appointing tool at https://go.usa.gov/xHgSE,” Bartee said, noting that the web link is case sensitive.
The process of making an appointment and getting the vaccine is really simple, according to Bartee.
To make an appointment, beneficiaries click the link to the DHA Appointing Portal, select whether they are receiving their initial or second dose, select the date and time for their appointment from the available list, enter their information, and submit their request.
“It’s important that those booking the appointment write down the date and time of their appointment because there are not email reminders sent out from the appointing portal,” Bartee said.
When beneficiaries arrive for their COVID-19 vaccine appointment, they will go to the Dr. Mary E. Walker Center located at 170 Inner Loop Rd., check in, fill out paperwork, get screened, get their vaccine, wait 15 minutes to ensure there are no adverse side effects, then receive their COVID-19 vaccine card and a slip of paper with information on when they should book an appointment for their second dose.
For more information on Weed Army Community Hospital’s COVID-19 efforts or COVID-19 vaccine appointments, visit https://weed-irwin.tricare.mil/ and click on the link in the banner.