Picatinny Arsenal is closer to welcoming a larger number of employees back to the installation, after what leaders are calling a “highly successful” COVID-19 vaccination distribution process.
Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines began rolling out across the Arsenal in early February, but vaccination noticeably ramped up once the aid of the installation’s 7245th Medical Command Unit (MCU) was augmented to assist.
Some of the first to be vaccinated on the installation were emergency service personnel, healthcare professionals, personnel scheduled for overseas deployment, as well as personnel 75-years and older. More than 150 Picatinny personnel were vaccinated on the first day.
The COVID-19 vaccines were delivered from Keller Army Community Hospital (KACH) at West Point, New York, where they were kept in an ultra-low storage freezer at minus 80-degrees Celsius.
Vaccination rollouts began to be implemented by the staff at Picatinny’s Occupational Health Clinic. Because of the great demand, however, more help was needed to deal with the growing scale of operations.
That’s when Picatinny Arsenal’s garrison commander, Lt. Col. Adam Woytowich, reached out to the Soldiers at the 7245th Medical Command Unit for support.
“From the moment I sent a request up to 7245th Medical Command Unit to garner assistance on our vaccination effort, I received nothing but positive feedback,” Woytowich said. “There was a clear sense of urgency from every one of the 7245th volunteers to want to help our community amidst the pandemic. I’m incredibly proud to serve alongside the 7245th and grateful they’re a part of the Picatinny family.”
7245th Medical Readiness Officer, Maj. Emmanuel Canoy, took the lead by reaching out to Soldiers to find volunteers as well as using Mobilization Force Generation Installation contacts at Ft. Dix to make sure the Soldiers had the right training and access to administer the vaccine.
The Soldiers within the unit sprang into action and began to conduct online training to comply with immunization guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Keller Army Hospital.
The members of the MCU were instructed on how to document patient information, draw and administer vaccinations safely.
Sgt. First Class Matthew Hilton, the 7245th training noncommissioned officer, worked with battalion and brigade to get Soldiers into the right pay status. He also coordinated with the Picatinny Arsenal garrison staff to make sure their Soldiers had a smooth transition into their temporarily assigned duties.
7245th Soldiers assisted the KACH and Picatinny staff by safely providing several of the first doses of the Pfizer vaccine to Soldiers and Civilians and 1,447 of the second dose.
“Our Soldiers really enjoyed participating and helping out the post,” Hilton said. “They really enjoyed doing their job as medics, nurses and providers, and (they) want to offer their services to the installation in the future.”