HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – Airmen from the 66th Medical Squadron here deployed March 20 as part of the federal effort to support the COVID-19 vaccination response at the Ford Field Community Vaccination Center in Detroit.
The team of Hanscom technicians, nurses and a pharmacist, along with members from other Air Force Materiel Command medical treatment facilities, will assist the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Northern Command Joint Force Land Component, in vaccinating as many as 6,000 people a day.
“This opportunity to serve the nation and a higher purpose is why we raised our right hands, and now we’re getting to do it,” said Lt. Col. Jeremiah Jacobs, 66 MDS deputy commander.
Despite so many from the clinical team being deployed, officials said Hanscom’s COVID-19 operations and readiness will remain a top priority for MDS. However, beneficiaries should expect longer wait times for appointments and communications from their primary care teams.
“This will mostly impact our ability to see patients face-to-face, so patients should look to use resources for virtual care, consultations or off-base facilities,” said Lt. Col. Ryan Gough, 66 MDS public health emergency officer.
According to the MDS, non-active duty patients are encouraged to visit urgent care clinics for acute, urgent medical care, noting that referrals are not required. Active duty members will have priority at the clinic and should continue to contact the MDS during duty hours for acute care.
The Nurse Advice Line is available 24/7 at 800-TRICARE or 781-225-6789 to answer any urgent care questions, and operators can also provide active duty patients referrals to an urgent care clinic.
Patients can also continue to contact their care teams via the secure messaging tool at app.tolsecuremessaging.com.
Jacobs said 66 MDS is proud to have their Airmen on the front lines of the federal response vaccination effort, and that Hanscom medics are there doing exactly what they’ve been trained to do by supporting the nation, and saving lives.
“We’ve been going at COVID full throttle since the beginning, and we haven’t let up,” said Jacobs. “We’re going to keep on the throttle where we are needed.”