WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE — Col. Patrick Miller popped on social media Wednesday for the installation’s first coronavirus town hall in almost a month and a half. As the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base commander tells it, no news is typically good news, but as the base approaches new pandemic milestones, installation leadership updated the community on several things, including Wright Patt’s progress on vaccinations.
To date the base has administered almost 20,000 vaccines, with approximately 9,000 people fully vaccinated. The state of Ohio is “outpacing” Wright-Patt, Miller said, so those numbers do not account for any base personnel who may have gotten their vaccine from a civilian source.
“All we ask for folks that may have gotten their vaccine off the installation, is share that information with us,” Miller said.“That information is important to us as leaders as we make operational decisions moving forward.”
Accurate vaccination numbers on base may determine whether or not the installation moves to Health Protection Condition (HPCon) Alpha, the lowest level of concern, or enter into Phase Three of the return to full capacity, the commander said.
The base began to see a climb in COVID-positive cases in early April but held steady in the number of hospitalizations and ICU admissions. The uptick is likely the result of vaccine hesitancy on the part of some Americans, the appearance of new variants of SARS-CoV-2, and lack of mitigation techniques, according to Lt. Col. Dr. Michael Crowder.
Some things won’t be changing: The base will remain in HPCon Bravo, and in Phase Two of its return to full capacity.
The base is also on track to administer even more vaccines. As Wright-Patterson follows the Department of Defense schema rather than the state of Ohio, vaccine rollout has remained in Phase 1C, serving mission-essential personnel, all Tricare beneficiaries 65 and older, and beneficiaries 16-64 years of age with increased risk of illness. However, on Monday, April 19, the base will move fully into Phase Two of the DoD vaccine schema.
“What we seem to be experiencing is a decrease in demand from our Tier One-Alpha to Charlie personnel,” said Col. Dr. Christian Lyons, commander of the 88th Medical Group. “We feel now that we are ready to open vaccinations to Tier Two, or our healthy personnel, or healthy population folks.”
The vaccine will be available to all persons age 16 and older by Monday, Crowder said.
Personnel are still not required to get the vaccine, as it is still under emergency use authorization.
Wright-Patt vaccine scheduling can be found at https://informatics-stage.health.mil/WPAFBCOVIDApp/, or by calling 937-257-SHOT.
Reach London Bishop at 937-502-4532 or follow @LBishopFDH on Twitter.