FORT POLK, La. — The Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk, in cooperation with Bayne-Jones Army Community Hospital, vaccinated 905 Soldiers at the Soldier Readiness Processing site April 26, 27 and 28. Medical professionals from BJACH, 32nd Hospital Center and combat medics from across the installation joined forces to administer the vaccine to volunteers from every unit on post.
Brig. Gen. David Doyle, commanding general, JRTC and Fort Polk, said vaccinations are available to all Soldiers assigned to Fort Polk.
“If you are a military member we are going to get you a vaccine,” he said. “We are working with BJACH to get as many doses of the vaccine for all of our Soldiers, civilians and beneficiaries. We want to get as many shots in arms as we can. Getting our community vaccinated is our number one priority.”
1st Lt. Sara Wozniak, a registered nurse with the 433rd Medical Detachment, 115th Field Hospital, 32nd HC has been part of the COVID-19 vaccine team at Fort Polk since the Emergency Use Authorization and doses began to arrive at the installation in December 2019. She has been on the frontlines of the vaccination efforts and said she was glad to see that large amounts of the vaccine had finally arrived at Fort Polk.
“The vaccine is the light at the end of the tunnel,” she said. “Getting everyone to understand the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine is the biggest challenge we are facing. At the end of the day getting vaccinated is a personal decision but I want to advocate and encourage everyone to get the shot. My goal is to make sure every Soldier has the information necessary to make an educated choice that is right for them.”
Maj. Carmen Salcedo, JRTC and Fort Polk command surgeon liaison officer, and a registered BJACH nurse was thrilled at the turn out during the three-day vaccination event. She said the vaccine is a step forward to develop community immunity.
“For the military it is extremely important to get vaccinated so we can stay healthy and continue fighting for our country,” Salcedo said. “Getting the COVID-19 vaccine is a readiness issue.”
Cpt. Janshay Polk, brigade nurse, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, said COVID-19 is still here one year later, and getting vaccinated is important to enable the community to get back a sense of normalcy.
“I cannot be any happier with how this vaccination event turned out,” she said. “It is a great way to get a lot of Soldiers’ immunizations done at once. It is absolutely vital to the community, to our family members and for our fellow Soldiers to get this vaccine.”
Editor’s note: Soldiers, Family Members and beneficiaries interested in getting the COVID-19 vaccine can contact the BJACH appointment line at (337) 531-3011 or visit Caution-www.tricare.mil/covidvaccine < Caution-http://www.tricare.mil/covidvaccine > to find an alternate vaccination site off post.