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NEWS | Dec. 15, 2020

National Guard supports vaccination efforts for Michigan

By Penelope Carroll Michigan National Guard

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan National Guard will help vaccinate people in the state in support of community health care organizations and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services fight against the spread of the coronavirus.

The health department asked the Guard to assist with logistical and medical assets for COVID-19 vaccinations across the state.

Members of the Guard will augment health care providers, where requested, in administering the vaccine.

The Guard will initially staff approximately 50 COVID-19 vaccination and testing teams, or CVTTs, each comprised of a uniformed medical technician and one or two administrative personnel. The CVTTs began reporting to four hospitals identified by the state as priorities on Dec. 15.

“We will provide medics and administrative support to hospitals and local health care organizations and work to fill their needs,” said Col. Ravindra Wagh, Michigan National Guard joint operations officer. “For some locations, that will mean directly administering the vaccine to their staff. We will also provide administrative support when needed, freeing up critical front-line hospital employees and allowing them to focus on the ongoing battle against COVID-19.”

Allocated vaccines in Michigan will go first to front-line health care workers and residents and staff of long-term health facilities. Essential workers and people at high risk for severe COVID-19 illnesses will be next.

“The Michigan National Guard remains focused on supporting our communities, our neighbors, in this important task,” said Maj. Gen. Paul Rogers, adjutant general and director of the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. “They are professionals who have proven they have the tenacity and right skill set to support the state of Michigan’s ongoing response to COVID-19.”

The National Guard has been integrated into the state’s emergency response to the pandemic since Gov. Gretchen Whitmer activated it in March. Several hundred Guard members continue to support COVID-19 testing and assisting local food banks. The Guard is expected to help out with vaccinations into the spring of 2021.