Home : News
NEWS | Jan. 14, 2021

NC National Guard boosts state's COVID-19 vaccination effort

By Sgt. Lisa Vines North Carolina National Guard

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Soldiers assigned to the North Carolina National Guard’s 130th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade began helping out at the COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Forsyth County of Public Health on Jan. 12.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper activated the NCNG to provide vaccination support to local health providers. Forsyth County has two NCNG strike teams consisting of six Soldiers each.

Army Staff Sgt. Stacie Tindle oversaw one strike team, consisting of two medics and four administrative support assistants. She said the team will be in place for as long as needed.

“We’re here every day,” said Tindle, a medic assigned to Headquarters Company, 130th MEB. “We greet the customers out front and make sure they are in the system for their appointment. Citizens are so excited to be able to come and begin this process, knowing they will have protection from COVID-19.”

Once people are checked in, they are walked through a process that includes a questionnaire and information about the vaccine. They also can make an appointment to return for their second vaccination.

The support of the Soldiers enables local health department leaders to breathe and return some of their staff to their normal public health work within clinics and public outreach.

Joshua Swift, Forsyth County public health director, said the collaboration has been practically seamless.

“We started this in mid-December, and we’ve been doing it almost every day,” said Swift of the COVID-19 vaccination operations. “We really appreciate the National Guard coming here to help augment the services we are already doing.”

Soldiers and health department employees work side-by-side to vaccinate North Carolinians safely and efficiently.

“Everyone here, whether it’s our staff at the health department or with the Guard, has the same mission in mind: to get this vaccine into as many arms as possible,” said Swift. “We can see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

The NCNG mobilized about 50 Soldiers to travel to vaccination locations across the state. Cooper’s activation of the NCNG follows news that North Carolina’s vaccination rate is among the lowest in the country.

North Carolina is currently in Phase 1B, Group One, which makes the vaccine available to people aged 75 or older.