Wright-Patterson will make COVID vaccines available to all 16 and older

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is readying to make COVID-19 vaccines available to everyone in the base community 16 and older, beginning Monday.

“We’re very happy to start our vaccines to all beneficiaries starting next Monday, 19 April,” said Col. Christian Lyons, commander of the 88th Medical Group at Wright-Patterson, speaking in a Facebook town hall Wednesday afternoon.

A “tier 2″ group of beneficiaries will include all Wright-Patterson active-duty members, Department of Defense (DoD) civilian employees and contractors, with TRICARE health beneficiaries ages 16 and older — regardless of health condition.

Those interested in the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine should call (937) 257-SHOT or visit https://informatics-stage.health.mil/WPAFBCOVIDApp/.

Clark, Greene and Montgomery counties are reporting more than 30% of their populations have been vaccinated, Lyons said, with under 30% in Miami County.

“Appointments are available in this area, and the demand seems to be decreasing,” Lyons said. “So this means, at many vaccination locations in the area, vaccinations are available.”

Lyons noted the temporary pause set for the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. He said the base has been using the Pfizer vaccine, a two-shot series with 21 days between doses.

Six problematic blood clot cases have been reported in the United States out of some 7 million Johnson & Johnson doses administered so far.

Lyons advises those who have received that vaccine to watch for a set of symptoms — including a headache, significant abdominal or leg pain or swelling, or shortness of breath

So far, the base has provided 19,694 vaccines, which gives Wright-Patterson the second highest number of vaccine doses of any Air Force installation, Lyons said.

Col. Patrick Miller, commander of the 88th Air Base Wing, said the base remains in health protection condition bravo, and that’s not going to change for the time being. That status allows base mission commanders to bring up to half of their typical workforces physically on base, but Miller has continually urged caution on that front.

“We’re going to stay right there,” Miller said Wednesday.

While COVID-positive cases have been slowly growing in Ohio since early April, the base is not seeing a climb in Intensive Care Unit or hospital admissions.

“That says we were targeting the right audience with vaccinations and we continue to do the right thing,” Miller said.

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