ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. --
Nearly 18 months into the COVID-19 pandemic, Air Force Reserve Command senior leaders are continuing to encourage Airmen to get vaccinated.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, getting vaccinated won’t necessarily prevent an individual from getting the virus, including any of the new variants, but it will likely make the experience less severe and lower the risk of hospitalization and death.
In an article posted Jan. 11, three days after receiving his first shot, Lt. Gen. Richard Scobee, AFRC commander and chief of the Air Force Reserve, said, “I highly encourage our Reserve Citizen Airmen and their families to get the COVID-19 vaccine when available.” He said getting the vaccine would help us protect ourselves, our families and our fellow Americans against this virus, and help ensure the readiness of the command.
The Air Force Reserve’s number one priority for COVID-19 is to take care of Americans, Airmen and their families. One of the best ways the AFRC can do that is by making sure vaccines are available for Airmen who want them.
Chief Master Sgt. Timothy White, AFRC’s command chief and Scobee’s senior enlisted advisor, got the shot alongside Scobee, and said it was an important tool to help stop the pandemic. “The combination of getting vaccinated along with continuing to wear a mask and practicing safe social distancing offers the best protection from COVID-19,” he said.
Col. Belinda Cole, AFRC Public Health Officer, said getting vaccinated is the best way to keep Americans safe, although it will not necessarily stop the spread. “What the vaccine will do is decrease the possibility of hospitalization and death,” she said.
She said the CDC encouraged mask wearing for vaccinated persons in a published document on July 31, citing that the new variants, Delta and Lamda, are worse than earlier strains. She said perfectly healthy, younger adults are getting sick and dying from these new variants.
Cole said that many people were concerned that the vaccines made it through the development process with relative speed. She said this is because most of the science behind their development was established or had been worked on for other viruses.
“I got the shot because I wanted to protect my elderly parents and my children,” said Cole. “Keeping those I love and my community as safe as I can by simply getting a vaccine makes a lot of sense to me.”
Whether or not the shot is the right choice for any individual is between that person and his or her doctor. Reservists who are vaccinated in their civilian capacities should provide standard documentation (vaccine name or code, date received, series (dose one or two), manufacturer and LOT number) to the servicing medical unit to update in Aeromedical Services Information Management System (ASIMS), the Air Force immunization database.
For the most up-to-date information on the vaccine for Reservists, go here.