COLCHESTER, Vt. – The Vermont National Guard now supports the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic with vaccinations for youth in the 5 to 11 age group and booster clinics for the general adult population.
Maj. Daniel Dykeman, commander of Joint Task Force Coyote, said the first pediatric vaccination clinic was held at the Vermont Guard Armory in Winooski Nov. 16.
"We vaccinated approximately 150 in the 5-11 age group during the clinic," Dykeman said.
Efforts to provide a more relaxed environment for the kids included: "coloring books and toys as well as cartoons on the TV. Working with kids is different, and it went very smoothly."
Dykeman said task force personnel prepared by completing the necessary training to administer pediatric vaccinations.
"We are ready to fully assist the state with their current vaccine needs," he said. "Our path moving forward is for the teams to provide both booster and pediatric clinics, which will be presented to make the younger children more comfortable to get the shot."
Meanwhile, the number of booster vaccinations is doubling in some locations, according to Capt. Danielle Bean, the officer in charge of Task Force Coyote's Team 3.
"Last Wednesday (Nov. 10) we provided approximately 150 booster vaccinations at a location in Burlington," Bean said. "Today, a week later (Nov. 17) at the same location, we are on track to administer 300. We started at 8 a.m. and go until 2 p.m., so it is a constant flow of people now. ... People feel the urgency to get the vaccine booster due to the Delta variant; they just want to protect their family and friends."
Bean emphasized Task Force Coyote teams are holding clinics in every corner of the state.
"Administering the vaccine is only part of the work involved. There are many moving parts to provide a successful clinic," he said. "In my position, I do a lot of work in between clinics ensuring all the logistics and planning are in place."
Task Force Coyote consists of approximately 60 Army and Air Guard personnel who administer vaccinations and handle administrative and supply tasks.
To date, the Vermont National Guard has supported the overall state effort by administering more than 70,000 vaccinations throughout Vermont.