NEWS | Sept. 17, 2021

Vermont National Guard supports medical warehouse

By Joshua Cohen, Vermont National Guard

COLCHESTER, Vt.  – Soldiers and Airmen of the Vermont National Guard are helping distribute COVID-19 vaccines and personal protective equipment from Vermont's Medical Countermeasures Warehouse to people throughout the state.

"Since there has been an uptick in COVID cases, we have been busy preparing and sending out vaccinations from this particular warehouse," said Vermont Air National Guard Tech. Sgt. Christina McGill. "I handle the additional supplies that go along with the vaccine, such as syringes."

Air National Guard Senior Airman Tung Lam works on the vaccine side of the warehouse as deputy vaccine team manager.

"We handle a lot of last-minute requests, shipping all three vaccine types to primary care facilities and hospitals," Lam said. "We noticed the amount of vaccination ampules has increased, but it is not anything near Day One when we first started sending out vaccines."

Lam said seven to eight vehicles depart the warehouse every day to deliver vaccine and PPE supplies to all points in the state, with some making multiple stops along the way.

"Back in March-April at the height of the pandemic, we shipped out 10,000 doses weekly," Lam said. "Last June was 1,000 doses weekly."

McGill said Lam's mission is very important. 

"His job is to handle the vaccine itself, making sure that it leaves this warehouse and goes into the arms of every Vermonter," she said. "Right now, we have seven Guard members and several state employees assigned here."

McGill said students 12 years and over can now receive the vaccine.

"For the younger students, we are supplying the schools with masks and hand sanitizer, and that has been going quickly," she said. "We had a lot of orders, cases and cases, masks and gloves as well.

"Now is the subject of testing in the schools, so we'll be in discussion on delivering test kits. We currently deliver PPE to over 50 schools, including the University of Vermont. Everything else we support consists of long-term care and correctional facilities; it all depends on the need," McGill added.

Vermont Army National Guard Pfc. Meagan Hopwood works with McGill on the PPE side of the MC operation.

"We do PPE kit-building and deliver them for different reasons," Hopwood said. "I am also the safety officer here, and to that end, we have a daily meeting each morning to discuss the day's missions."