NEWS | July 1, 2021

Pennsylvania National Guard vaccination mission ends

By Brad Rhen, Pennsylvania National Guard

FORT INDIANTOWN GAP, Pa. – After over three months and more than 80,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses administered, the Pennsylvania National Guard's public vaccination mission has come to an end.

Operation Vaccinate PA began March 11, when Pa. National Guard Soldiers and Airmen helped vaccinate teachers across the commonwealth. They wrapped up June 29 with the closure of the community vaccination center at the Park City Center mall in Lancaster.

"Over the past several months, the men and women of the Pennsylvania National Guard vaccinated over 80,000 citizens at COVID-19 vaccination centers across the commonwealth," said Pennsylvania Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Mark Schindler. "I thank them, their families and employers for their many sacrifices, dedication and selfless service."

Approximately 350 Soldiers and Airmen participated in the operation. They administered 81,571 vaccine doses to commonwealth residents and supported sites that administered 566,163 doses overall.

The service members supported five COVID-19 community vaccination centers across the commonwealth. The centers were located in Lancaster, State College, Monroeville, and Philadelphia, where there were two separate centers.

Before beginning support of the community vaccination centers, more than 100 Pa. National Guard members supported vaccination centers for teachers and school staff at 14 locations across the commonwealth. During that mission, which began March 11 and ended on March 30, Guard members administered 14,634 vaccinations.

The Pa. National Guard teams who supported the vaccination centers included medical specialists who could perform medical tasks like administering injections and general-purpose personnel who performed non-medical tasks, such as setting up and administrative functions.

"In response to Governor Wolf's request, over 350 Soldiers and Airmen participated in vaccination operations across the commonwealth," said Col. Frank Montgomery, the Pennsylvania National Guard's director of military support. "These service members proudly undertook this vital mission and personally administered 81,571 vaccinations while supporting sites that administered over a half a million doses.

"As with previous COVID missions, these vaccination missions demonstrated the Pennsylvania National Guard's flexibility and agility, and our service members were excited to support their communities and help them return to a sense of normalcy," Montgomery added.

Pennsylvania National Guard members have also administered more than 7,000 vaccine doses to fellow PNG members, in addition to the public vaccination mission.