21 TSC protects Force with local national vaccinations

Spc. Torrin King, 30th Med Brigade, vaccinates a local national U.S. Army hire during the “vaccine rodeo,” held at Rhine Ordnance Barracks in May. Photos by Rebecca Schwab

The 30th Med Brigade, 21st Theater Sustainment Command, administered the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccination to about 2,000 local national U.S. Army direct hires this week and last at Rhine Ordnance Barracks in Kaiserslautern. Most of the vaccine recipients were attached to 21st TSC, but German national employees from AAFES, Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other units also took advantage of the opportunity.

“Our local Germany national work force is a critical part of our daily operation,” said Col. Charles Fisher, 21st TSC chief of staff.  “They work side by side with our Soldiers, Department of the Army civilians and contractors every day and being able to provide them with the vaccine is another way we continue to protect the force.

“The more people who are vaccinated in our work places and communities, the sooner we can get back to life pre-COVID,” Fisher said.

21st TSC Deputy Com-manding General Brig. Gen. Wanda Williams and County Commissioner of Kaiserslautern, Ralf Leßmeister, visited the vaccination site on Friday, May 7.

“I’m very grateful for the support provided by the U.S. Army here today with the vaccinations of the local national employees,” said Leßmeister. “Of course, this helps us a lot with our vaccination rate in the county and the city.

Maj. Dana Cook, 30th Med Brigade, greets the County Commissioner of Kaiserslautern, Ralf Leßmeister, with an elbow bump during the vaccination event for local nationals at Rhine Ordnance Barracks Friday, May 7.

“In Germany, vaccination is done on a priority basis, so the U.S. Army’s and Air Force’s vaccination campaign can break through those vaccination priorities and give local national employees the opportunity to be vaccinated early in the process.”

The “vaccine rodeo,” originally planned to run two days, was extended two extra days due to the positive response. Local national hires coordinated appointments through their respective units to minimize wait time and ensure adequate staffing. According to 30th MED Brigade’s Maj. Dana Cook, they are able to vaccinate 80-100 people each hour.

U.S. employees who missed previous vaccination events or changed their minds, as well as TF Willkommen wards on site had the opportunity to get vaccinated on the added days of May 10 and May 12.

Vaccinations of U.S. dependent family members age 18 are ongoing. Individuals can make appointments at any military treatment facility through the DHA Appointing Portal at https://informatics-stage.health.mil/COVAX/. A choice between the Johnson & Johnson and Moderna/Pfizer vaccines is available at some sites.

Regional Health Command Europe is working to bring a limited supply of Pfizer vaccine to the military community in Europe, specifically for adolescent family members. The Pfizer vaccine received Emergency Use Authorization for 16-17 year olds. RHCE expects a shipment after mid-May and will move forward with vaccinations for that age group. The recent Pfizer Emergency Use Authorization extension to 12-15 year olds also clears the way for RHCE to vaccinate that age group in the near future.