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Iowa National Guard members receive COVID-19 vaccine

  • Published
  • By Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Vincent De Groot
  • 185th Air Refueling Wing

The first round of COVID-19 vaccines have been distributed to National Guard units around the nation. Initial inoculations were given to unit members of the Iowa National Guard’s 185th Air Refueling Wing during their January training weekend.

Early doses are being given to unit members who are considered “first tier,” people in the medical professions, fire and police protection as well as those who are scheduled to deploy among others.  

According to Lt Col. Tonja Winekauf, 185th ARW Nurse Practitioner, the unit received a limited amount of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. She said unit members will be given the second round of the two part vaccine in the coming weeks.

“The goal of providing the vaccine is to protect our unit members so we have a ready fighting force,” Winekauf said.

Winekauf said the inoculations are not mandatory, which allowed the clinic to distribute some first round vaccines to unit members who are not among first tier recipients.

“We were instructed to, get the shots in arms,” Winekauf added.

Following the prescribed protocols, then getting the “shots in the arm,” is not a simple as just sending out an invitation, according to Winekauf. She said the initial rollout had Iowa Guard members working hard at all levels to ensure the maximum amount of coverage. She said by the end of the training weekend the Iowa National Guard is at the top states getting the vaccine distributed.

Winekauf said that she expects additional doses to continue to arrive weekly and that they will be distributed to units of the Iowa Air an Army National Guard as they arrive.