Wing rolling up its sleeves - Work underway on 60-day, mass vaccination program

News Article / April 23, 2021

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By Sara White

14 Wing Greenwood is preparing to put needles in arms, as the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine will soon arrive on base for military members.

“We’re aiming to complete our vaccination program within 60 days of receipt of the vaccine,” says Wing Commander Colonel Brendan Cook. “There is a significant organizational and logistical effort that must accompany that work to ensure success. No fly days will be planned, as required, to ensure the mass vaccination campaign can move as quickly as possible. Some impact to operations and training is acceptable.”

14 Wing’s vaccination program will extend beyond the base to units within its area of responsibility, including 14 Construction Engineering Squadron and personnel at 5th Canadian Division Support Base Detachment Aldershot. It will include Regular Force, eligible Reserve Force members (contracts over 180 days) and a select number of civilian employees associated with specific operations.

Immunization on the wing is prioritized in accordance with the CAF COVID-19 Vaccine Prioritization Framework and is summarized as follows: health care professionals, personnel with COVID-related risk factors, first responders (Military Police, firefighters, search and rescue aircrew), essential support such as personnel deploying or posted outside of Canada, members engaged with training and education activities, and everyone else. Civilian employees and ineligible Reserve Force personnel will access the COVID-19 vaccine through Nova Scotia health care providers.

Colonel Cook expects to personally monitor the vaccination program week-to-week once underway as part of the wing’s “battle rhythm” against the spread of COVID-19 and variants.

“Attendance at the mass vaccination clinic will be mandatory, so we can ensure 100 per cent of military members are briefed and have the opportunity to ask any questions they have about the vaccine and to make an informed choice with a medical professional, in private,” Colonel Cook says.

Vaccination of CAF personnel must follow the principles of informed consent as a matter of medical and professional ethics. 26/ 27 Canadian Forces Health Services personnel expect to lead 10 bilingual briefings a day and operate the vaccination clinics, to all COVID-19 safety protocols. As military members finish the briefing, they will have a private opportunity to be vaccinated. If they opt out of the COVID-19 vaccine – as with any other vaccine – it may affect deployability to certain high-risk environments or with vulnerable populations.

As vaccination continues, all members of the Defence Team are encouraged to stay on guard: continue to follow local public health guidelines, wash their hands, keep their physical distance, wear a mask and get the vaccine when it is available to them.

“Broad vaccination – as soon as possible – is the best chance we have to maintain operational readiness, resume normal activities and prevent further infection, including the rise of viral variants,” says Colonel Cook.

All members of 14 Wing will be contacted to attend a clinic for the vaccination brief followed by an opportunity to receive a vaccine. 14 Wing members with questions on the wing’s vaccination program are advised to contact their unit representative found on the 14 Wing splash page.

Sara White is managing editor of 14 Wing Greenwood’s newspaper, The Aurora, in which the preceding article first appeared.

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