NEWS | March 5, 2021

Connecticut Guard assists with vaccinations for school staff

By Staff Sgt. Steven Tucker 103rd Airlift Wing

HARTFORD, Conn. – Connecticut National Guard members from the 103rd Airlift Wing supported a clinic set up at Saint Francis Hospital to vaccinate 1,500 teachers and staff from Hartford Public Schools March 4-5.

Airmen teamed with hospital staff members at the stations within the clinic. As the hospital staff administered the vaccine to patients, Airmen helped with administrative tasks to efficiently run the site.

“We’re helping with paperwork, registration, logging information in the CDC’s online Vaccine Administration Management System, filling out the vaccination cards – anything we can do to provide administrative support here,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Aaron Sarwar, 118th Airlift Squadron navigator and site lead for Air National Guard personnel.

The hospital requested the team of 11 Guard members to assist their vaccination effort in partnership with the city of Hartford and the state. With 39 schools serving more than 17,500 students, Hartford Public Schools is one of Connecticut’s largest school districts.

“I’m really happy that we’re able to help teachers in our state,” said Airman 1st Class Jared Carignan, 103rd Logistics Readiness Squadron air transportation specialist. “It’s a big step in the fight against COVID-19, and I’m grateful to be a part of it.”

Working with the hospital has been a positive experience for the Guard members, Sarwar said.

“It’s pretty clear that this is one team. We’ve completely integrated with the hospital and we’re working hand-in-hand with them,” Sarwar said. “All the nurses and providers have been wonderful training up the Airmen and getting them efficient in all the systems.”

Gov. Ned Lamont, Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin and Saint Francis Hospital President Thomas Burke toured the site and expressed their appreciation for the Guard’s support.

“The communication is excellent, everyone is motivated, and it’s really just been a good day overall because everyone loves being a part of it,” said Carignan.

In addition to the vaccination site, the Guard is supporting four testing sites in Hartford as part of the COVID-19 response missions involving Airmen from across the wing.

“We have people from all over the unit – Air Control Squadron, Maintenance Group, Logistics Readiness Squadron, Medical Group, and I’m from the Airlift Squadron,” said Sarwar. “It’s great seeing people from all the different organizations come together to support these missions and help our state.”