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Incirlik AB immunizes Airmen against COVID-19

Female medic administering a vaccine

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Kayla Blanchard, 39th Medical Group Immunization technician, administers a COVID-19 vaccination to Capt. Brent Luch, 39th Security Forces Squadron operations officer, during the initial series of vaccinations Jan. 8, 2021, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. Prioritized DoD personnel are highly encouraged to take the vaccine to protect their health, their families, their community, and lower the public health risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ryan Lackey)

Female medic administering a vaccine

U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Janee Walker, 39th Security Forces Squadron chief enlisted manager, holds onto a COVID-19 vaccination card during the first phase of immunizations on Jan. 8, 2021, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. Vaccines for COVID-19 are only available after they are demonstrated to be safe and effective in large phase-three clinical trials, have been authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and have been manufactured and distributed safely and securely. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ryan Lackey)

person giving a thumbs up after receiving a vaccine

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Kayla Baxter, 39th Medical Group Ambulance Services shift leader, administers a COVID-19 vaccination to Lt. Col. Carol West, 39th Medical Support Squadron laboratory commander, during the initial series of vaccinations Jan. 8, 2021, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. The Department of Defense is committed to protecting service members, civilian employees, and families around the globe; safeguarding national security capabilities; and supporting the whole-of nation response. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ryan Lackey)

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Incirlik Air Base Airmen received the first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine Jan. 8 at the 39th Medical Group.  

 

The historical day for Incirlik Airmen, who since early 2020 have been executing their zero-fail missions under COVID-19 restrictions, is viewed by many experts as a first step towards a vaccinated nation and world.     

 

The vaccine was distributed as part of a Department of Defense phase-driven vaccine process, with first responders and medical personnel receiving the first doses.   

 

“Our first responders and Defenders interact with a wide range of people, and having this opportunity increases our Defenders’ safety and also ensures we continue meeting our mission requirements,” said Capt. Brent Luch, 39th Security Forces Squadron operations officer.

 

Luch was one of the security forces members offered the vaccine. 

I am definitely planning on talking to my Defenders about my experience with the vaccine, and any side effects I may have” said Luch.  “I got vaccinated for my family- my wife is expecting our 3rd baby soon and I want to make sure I can get home to see them.” 

 

“We are extremely lucky to have received the Moderna vaccine here at Incirlik.  I am incredibly proud of this effort from the 39th Medical Group, Air Mobility Command’s 728th Air Mobility Squadron, and the entire USAFE team who made this happen,” said Col. Sean O’Brien, 39th Medical Group commander.   “The MDG has been eagerly anticipating this day, and began vaccinations less than 20 hours after it arrived on station.”  

 

The 39th MDG encourages anyone who is debating whether they should be vaccinated to take a look at all the information available, and have a discussion with their provider.  MDG personnel will be available to answer questions at the vaccination line.     

 

“Leaders from across the wing trust the safety of this vaccine, and are more than ready to be at the front of the line when it’s their turn to be vaccinated,” said O’Brien.  

 

All DoD personnel will continue to wear appropriate masks, practice physical distancing, wash hands, follow restrictions of movement and adhere to host nation restrictions for the safety of communities, as a large portion of the population will need to be vaccinated before COVID-19 risks diminish.