Q. Will vaccines be available at MTFs? When will they be available?
A. DoD initially expects limited quantity and a phased delivery of COVID-19 vaccine following FDA Emergency Use Authorization. Initial DoD distribution sites were selected by the DoD’s COVID Task Force from sites recommended by the military services and U.S. Coast Guard to best support several criteria: anticipated supply chain requirements for initially approved vaccines (i.e. ultra-cold, bulk storage facility); sizeable local population to facilitate rapid vaccine administration to priority personnel across the military services; and sufficient necessary medical personnel to administer vaccines and actively monitor vaccine recipients after initial and second-dose administration. Initial vaccine doses will become available at select locations in late 2020 and early 2021, and at additional sites in spring 2021.
Q. Why is the vaccine not available here?
A. The distribution process is phase-driven to protect the DoD from COVID-19 as quickly as possible. In the initial phases, a limited number of sites were selected to receive vaccine. Initial sites also allow DoD to validate distribution and administration processes and structures and guide senior leader decisions to increase distribution and administration as vaccine manufacturing and CDC allocation permits. Initial site performance will guide follow-on site identification and the scaling of DoD distribution and administration processes.
Q. Will TRICARE beneficiaries including military retirees have access to the vaccine?
A. Yes, based on DoD prioritization. While there is limited vaccine availability, vaccination distribution prioritization will focus on those providing direct medical care, maintaining essential national security and installation functions, deploying forces, and those beneficiaries at the highest risk for developing severe illness from COVID-19. TRICARE beneficiaries empaneled at a DoD Military Treatment Facility (MTF) are eligible to receive the vaccine at a DoD MTF. TRICARE beneficiaries who receive care at DoD MTFs on a space-available basis can alternately receive vaccine through the local civilian jurisdiction.
Q. Why is the plan phase driven and not population or hot spot focused?
A. The distribution process is phase driven to safely protect the DoD from COVID-19 as quickly as possible. In the initial phase, a limited number of sites were selected to receive vaccine. Initial sites also allow DoD to validate distribution and administration processes and structures and guide senior leader decisions to increase distribution as vaccine manufacturing and CDC allocation permits. Initial site performance will guide follow-on site identification and the scaling of DoD distribution and administration processes.
Q. Where should I be vaccinated?
A. To the greatest extent possible, beneficiaries in priority groups who are enrolled at Military Treatment Facilities (MTF) should come to the MTF to be vaccinated. This will ensure the maximum number of vaccine opportunities allocated to jurisdictions other than DoD are available for the non-DoD population. TRICARE beneficiaries who receive care at DoD MTFs on a space-available basis can alternately receive vaccine through the local civilian jurisdiction.
Q. How will DoD track personnel who receive a COVID vaccine?
A. DoD will track COVID vaccine administration through existing medical record reporting systems.
Q. If I already had COVID-19, should I still get a vaccine?
A. Yes, because duration of immunity following COVID-19 infection is unknown, and the vaccine may be effective in protecting previously infected people.
Q. Will we still need to wear masks and practice physical distancing once a vaccine is available?
A. Yes. The intent of the vaccine is to prevent the spread of COVID 19. We will still need to wear cloth face covings and practice physical distancing to limit the spread of the virus. Additionally, we will not have enough vaccine initially to vaccinate everyone who wants the vaccine and COVID-19 pandemic risks will continue. We will continue to recommend wearing masks and practicing physical distancing, for everyone, until pandemic risk of COVID-19 is substantially reduced.
Q. What is an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA)?
A. Drugs and vaccines have to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ensure that only safe and effective products are available to the American public. In situations when there is good scientific reason to believe that a product is safe and is likely to treat or prevent disease, the FDA may authorize its emergency use under specific circumstances. Vaccines authorized for emergency use are offered on a voluntary basis.
Q. What has DoD done to ensure the vaccine(s) they are distributing is safe?
A. Vaccines and therapeutics to prevent and treat diseases are developed in stages. In Phase 1 Trials researchers test an experimental drug or treatment in a small group of people for the first time. In Phase 2 Trials the experimental drug or treatment is given to a larger group of people to see if it is effective and to evaluate its safety further. In Phase 3 Trials the experimental study drug or treatment is given to very large groups of people. Researchers confirm its effectiveness, monitor side effects, compare it to commonly used treatments, and collect information that will allow the experimental drug or treatment to be used safely. Manufactures are required to submit their raw data for the FDA to review. Safety, immune response, and efficacy data from the trial stages are submitted to the FDA before they are authorized for use and distribution.
Q. Who will be the first to get the vaccine?
A. Vaccination distribution prioritization will focus on those providing direct medical care, maintaining essential national security and installation functions, deploying forces, and those at the highest risk for developing severe illness from COVID-19, before other members of the DoD population.
Q. Should children get the vaccine?
A. The current vaccine trials have not studied the safety and efficacy for children and manufactures are not currently asking the FDA for authorization to vaccinate children
Q: How long will protection last following vaccination?
A. We do not know how long protection will last following vaccination but it will be critically important to measure long-term protection (at least two years) in the phase 3 trials and in other groups prioritized for early vaccination. We are still learning about the duration of protection following infection with COVID-19 and it is too early to tell how long protection will last.
Q. Can someone get COVID-19 from the vaccine?
A. No, it is not possible to get COVID-19 from vaccines. Vaccines against COVID-19 use inactivated virus, parts of the virus, or a gene from the virus. None of these can cause COVID-19.
Q. Should I get the vaccine for influenza (flu shot)?
A. Yes, it is very important to get the influenza vaccine, particularly this season when both influenza viruses and COVID-19 will infect people.
Q. Will DoD require all service members to receive the vaccine?
A. No. The vaccine will be offered on a voluntary basis. Priority populations are highly encouraged to receive the vaccine. When formally licensed by the FDA, the DoD may require a vaccine for military personnel or personnel in specific fields, as is the case for the influenza vaccine.
Q. Why should we receive the first-available vaccine when there are several other vaccines still in trials?
A. People who are offered the first-available vaccine are considered to be in groups that are most in need of COVID-19 protection. Vaccinated people will be protecting themselves, as well as their families and all people with whom they interact. Evaluation of the first-available vaccine will continue, even after its pre-licensure release. The release of other vaccines cannot be fully predicted, so people who are offered the first-available vaccine will be encouraged to receive this vaccine.
Q. What is DoD’s supporting role in Operation Warp Speed?
A. DoD's is in support of the Department of Health and Human Services and is harnessing vast DoD logistical expertise to provide the vision and intent for the distribution strategy, while working hand in hand with the CDC to leverage their planning efforts. To that end, Gen. Gustave F. Perna is the OWS chief operating officer responsible for coordination of planning, logistics, security and assurance, supply chain development, and manufacturing in support of OWS. Our unique capabilities will enable faster distribution and administration across the United States than would have otherwise been possible.
Q. Will DoD distribute the vaccine to the American public too?
A. Operation Warp Speed is facilitating vaccine distribution to the American public. HHS and CDC lead planning and implementation, with DoD augmenting the deliberate, comprehensive micro-planning efforts down to the state/territory (jurisdiction) level. At this time, we do not anticipate a large commitment of DoD units or personnel to support the nationwide distribution of vaccines to the US civilian population. DoD’s role is primarily planning staff augmentation and execution oversight in conjunction with and in support of the CDC. Any DoD required logistical support would be by exception and consistent with support of state responses during Defense Support to Civil Authorities.
Q. Which Select Reserve and National Guard personnel will receive the vaccine?
A. Selected Reserve personnel include drilling members of the Federal Reserve and National Guard. Selected Reserve personnel on orders for more than 30 days are included in the active component.
Q. How will DoD work with host nations, who may have not approved COVID 19 vaccines for their national populations, to distribute and administer vaccines to DoD personnel stationed in overseas locations?
A. DoD routinely imports medicines for its personnel, some of which may not be something that can be prescribed in the host country. EUAs have previously been used in foreign nations without significant issues. There are unlikely to be any international or Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) issues with DoD distributing the vaccine to U.S. Service Members or SOFA-status DoD personnel (military dependents, civilian employees and their dependents, and contract personnel) as doing so would be deemed an internal matter and host nations would not intervene.
Q. Is DoD responsible for vaccine distribution to Veterans Affairs facilities?
A. No. The Department of Veterans Affairs is a separate jurisdiction for vaccine distribution. The VA is distributing and administering COVID 19 vaccines to VA staff, long-term care facility residents, and other VA personnel and patients according to the VA’s own plan. The CDC works with 64 jurisdictions, including 50 states, eight territories, six major metropolitan areas, and five federal agencies including DoD, the VA, the Department of State, Indian Health Services, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Please contact the CDC for more information about other jurisdictions and Operation Warp Speed for information about national COVID-19 distribution.
The Department of Defense COVID-19 vaccine roll-out plan is being implemented in a standardized and coordinated strategy for prioritizing, distributing, and administering COVID-19 vaccines to protect our people, maintain readiness, and support the national COVID-19 response.
Initially the vaccine will be offered under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) and vaccinations will be voluntary until achieving full FDA approval. Initial quantities of the vaccine are limited and will be distributed on a rolling delivery basis as more vaccines becomes available.
With the situation revolving around the spread of the COVID- 19 Virus, we have developed an easy way to ask questions to the Commanders about the status of the 145th Airlift Wing amid all the closures and changing policies. Please use the comment box below to submit your questions, they will be emailed the Wing Staff CC Org box. We will do everything we can to respond to each and every question and we will also strive to provide updates as frequently as possible to the Facebook, the Wing App, and Email.
There may be questions we do not know the answer to, but we will do what we can to find out, or at least estimate when we would have an answer. Thank you for your patience in this trying time and we hope you all continue to stay safe and stay healthy.
For any virus response or virus related questions not for the Command Staff:
Our base POC for COVID-19 is Lt. Col. Philbeck at 704-391-4470 and Maj. Caudell at 704-391-4133
1. QUESTION. What procedures should be followed to clean and disinfect a workspace previously occupied by someone who is known or suspected to have contracted coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)?
ANSWER. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have established guidance for the cleaning and disinfection of work areas-to include those areas previously occupied by workers who are known or suspected to have contracted COVID-19. This guidance is available at: https://www.cdc.gov/COVID-19/2019-ncov/community/organizations/cleaningdisinfection.html and_https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/disinfectingbuilding-facility.html. Use all disinfectants in accordance with the manufacturer's labeling. Additionally, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lists recommended disinfectants, found at: https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sarscov2.
2. QUESTION. Is there a need to segregate a work area and demarcate it "off limits" when someone who is known or suspected to have contracted COVID-19 has worked in the area?
ANSWER. Segregation prior to cleaning and disinfection is necessary. When the cleaning and disinfection procedures described above are completed, demarcation of areas where the individuals previously worked is not necessary.
3. QUESTION. What personal protective equipment (PPE) should be worn by personnel who are cleaning work spaces or conducting maintenance activities in areas previously occupied by someone who is known or suspected to have contracted COVID-19?
ANSWER. Personnel should wear gloves, face shields (if there is a risk of splash), disposable gowns or aprons, and other protection as recommended on the Safety Data Sheet of the cleaning or disinfectant product. Personnel should follow all personal hygiene requirements (e.g., handwashing, equipment doffing) after completion of work activities as recommended by CDC guidance, which may be found at: https://www.cdc.gov/COVID-19/2019-ncov/community/organizations/cleaning-disinfection.html.
4. QUESTION. Are there any special procedures workers should use if they are planning to conduct maintenance in a residence where a person who is known or suspected to have contracted COVID-19 resides?
ANSWER. If possible, delay the maintenance work. If the maintenance is necessary, the resident should be asked to remove all items that would impede the work of the maintenance personnel. The resident should clean the area of any surficial debris, dust, etc., that would impact the effectiveness of surface disinfectant used by maintenance personnel. Workers should maintain a distance of at least six feet from the resident who has contracted COVID-19. Ask that the resident remain in a separate room while maintenance is conducted. If a separate room for the resident is unavailable and the worker is unable to maintain six feet of distance from the resident during the work, appropriate protective equipment for close contact must be worn by the worker. If necessary, clean and disinfect the work area following the CDC-prescribed procedures described in FAQ 1, and follow the procedures for personnel protection described in FAQ3.
5. QUESTION. Should heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) and air handling systems be turned off or air vents covered to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace?
ANSWER. No. Based on current data, COVID-19 is spread primarily from person-to-person through close contact (within 6 feet); thus, there is no need to shut down HVAC and air handling systems. The CDC generally recommends increasing ventilation rates and the circulation of fresh air within HV AC and air handling systems. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019- ncov /community/guidance-business-response.html
6. QUESTION. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires the reporting of COVID-19 as a recordable occupational illness, pursuant to 29 CFR 1904, for those personnel who contract COVID-19 while working. Given the nature of community transmission of this illness, how can I be sure an employee contracted COVID-19 in the workplace, to satisfy OSHA record keeping requirements appropriately?
ANSWER. COVID-19 is a recordable occupational illness if a worker contracts the virus as a result of performing his or her occupational duties and if all of the following conditions are met: (1) COVID-19 illness is a confirmed case according to the most recent CDC guidance (see: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/reporting-pui.html}; (2) contraction of COVID-19 is work-related, as described in 29 CFR 1904.5 (this condition will require a determination by the supervisor, who may require input from the worker's health care provider); (3) the case of illness satisfies the requirement as a recordable illness as set forth in 29 CFR 1904. 7 ( e.g., medical treatment beyond first aid is required, the number of days away from work meets the stated threshold). The reporting requirements are described in more detail at:
7. QUESTION. Can I suspend the completion of routine industrial hygiene and safety surveys required by Department of Defense Instruction (DoDI) 6055.05, "Occupational and Environmental Health," during this pandemic in order to minimize the potential spread of COVID-19, devote maximum resources to COVID-19 response activities, and provide maximum flexibility for employees to telework?
ANSWER. Yes. To ensure maximum compliance with the CDC's social distancing guidance and DoD Components' telework arrangements, routine industrial hygiene and safety surveys may be discontinued at the discretion of the Component Designated Agency Safety and Health Official, or his or her designated representative, for the duration of the pandemic, until travel restrictions are lifted the workplace returns HPCON "O, whichever comes later."
8. QUESTION. DoDI 6055.12, "Hearing Conservation Program (HCP)," dated August 14, 2019, requires that audiometric test environments (e.g., booths) be surveyed annually. Given the recent travel restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, many components cannot complete these annual surveys. Can we suspend this requirement for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic?
ANSWER. Yes. The annual survey requirements specified in subparagraphs 3.8.c.(2) and (3) ofDoDI 6055.12 may be suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic. These requirements should resume upon the conclusion of the pandemic, upon removal of travel restrictions or return to HPCON "O, whichever comes later."
9. QUESTION. Spirometry (lung function) testing is required in certain occupational medicine surveillance and certification exams. Given the concern with aerosol generating procedures and COVID-19 pandemic, can spirometry be delayed until it is safe to resume?
ANSWER. Spirometry testing requires a forced expiratory maneuver which is likely to spread respiratory droplets into the air and increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission, particularly to the employees administering the spirometry examination. In accordance with the April 1, 2020 Secretary of Defense Memorandum, "Guidance to Commanders on Implementation of the RiskBased Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic," occupational health clinics can suspend routine occupational spirometry unless medically essential, when determined by the medical activity commanding officer in order to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission to occupational health staff. Any suspension of services must be coordinated with supported commands.
10. QUESTION. Some of the N-95 respirators in the pandemic stockpiles have exceeded their manufacturer's recommended shelf-life and expiration date. Should they be discarded?
ANSWER. No. Current CDC guidance addresses this issue and may be found at:
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/respirators-strategy/contingency-capacitystrategies.html. Over time, the components of the N-95 respirator, such as the strap, may degrade, which can affect the quality of the fit and seal. The manufacturer should be contacted for additional guidance. At a minimum, use of expired respirators may be prioritized for situations where personnel are not exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19, such as for training and fit testing. Additional CDC guidance concerning stockpiled N-95 respirators that have exceeded their recommended shelf lives may be found at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/release-stockpiled-N9S.html.
11. QUESTION. Are there requirements to decontaminate N-95 respirators and other disposable filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs) before reuse and, if so, what are the acceptable decontamination procedures?
ANSWER. The CDC has published guidelines for the circumstances in which disposable FFRs should be reused and decontaminated, and the appropriate procedures to follow when decontamination is necessary. These guidelines may be found at:
12. QUESTION. What are the authoritative sources to obtain the most relevant and current information concerning guidance for the protection of DoD employees?
ANSWER. The following list of websites that should be consulted for additional guidance on occupational safety and health considerations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
• CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/COVID-19/2019-nCoV/index.htmI
• OSHA: https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/
• DoD: https://www.defense.gov/Explore/Spotlight/COVID-19/
Center for Disease Control Website
CDC Travel and Health Notices
Department of Defense COVID-19 Website
Facebook CDC Hashtag Links
COVID -19 Fact Sheet
Tutor.com Fact Sheet
Amazing Educational Resources
Virtual Field Trips & Adventures
COVID -19 Actions for the 145th Airlift Wing
COVID-19 Emergency Financial Assistance
COVID-19 Disinfecting Work Stations
COVID-19 Cleaning and Disinfecting
C-19 Patient Information