COLUMBUS, Neb. – The Nebraska National Guard is vaccinating eligible residents in support of the Department of Health and Human Services' statewide response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Guard members helped administer the first doses of the vaccine to more than 700 people Jan. 21 in Columbus.
Nebraska Soldiers and Airmen have assisted local and state officials in responding to the pandemic in many ways, including providing mobile testing teams and helping out at local food banks.
As part of the most recent joint effort, a team of three Soldiers and one Airman assisted the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Resources, East Central District Health Department, local volunteer nurses and staff from the City Emergency Management Agency with administering vaccines, verifying documents and completing Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) vaccination cards.
"Our mission is to help DHHS, or the local residents, bolster their abilities to administer vaccinations," said Staff Sgt. Brad Wardyn, a flight medic with Company G, 2-104th General Support Aviation Battalion. "Civilian medical personnel are taxed with COVID, and now we can help administer COVID vaccinations to help minimize the impact it has on the local community."
Health care providers appreciated the support and said they enjoyed working with the National Guard.
"They are highly organized and efficient; they bring a positive attitude to the team and they are capable of accomplishing any task presented to them," said Libby Finochiaro, the emergency response coordinator for the East Central District Health Department. "We are very thankful to have the National Guard on our team."
The Soldiers and Airmen said they are proud to lend a hand wherever they can to assist state and local health care providers during the vaccination effort.
"As a Guard Soldier, I jump at any opportunity to assist with a need within our state," said Sgt. Justen Meneses, military police with the Nebraska National Guard Joint Force Headquarters. "... This mission is helping those who are vulnerable and seeking to return to a normal way of life."