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Vaccines, more addressed at August town hall

Col. Katrina Stephens, installation commander, and Chief Master Sgt. William Hebb, installation command chief, speak during a live-streamed town hall at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., Aug. 25. During the event, the leaders spoke with experts from various base organizations to answer questions from the community. (U.S. Air Force photo by Lauren Russell)

Col. Katrina Stephens, installation commander, and Chief Master Sgt. William Hebb, installation command chief, speak during a live-streamed town hall at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., Aug. 25. During the event, the leaders spoke with experts from various base organizations to answer questions from the community. (U.S. Air Force photo by Lauren Russell)

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – Base leaders addressed topics and answered questions from around the installation during a virtual town hall here Aug. 25.

Col. Katrina Stephens, installation commander, and Chief Master Sgt. William Hebb, installation command chief, were joined by representatives from Public Health, the Chapel and base housing, along with the school liaison.

Lt. Col. Ryan Gough, 66th Medical Squadron public health emergency officer, addressed the Pfizer vaccine’s recent full Food and Drug Administration approval for persons 16 and older, and the upcoming vaccine requirements for service members.

“We will continue to monitor the process and timelines for these requirements, and make sure the information is communicated to the populations this will impact,” said Stephens.

Personnel can still receive the Moderna vaccine on a walk-in basis at the Hanscom Clinic Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The clinic has reopened the COVID testing line on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. Tests can be scheduled via the clinic’s appointment line at 781-225-6789.

Gough also touched on the potential for some personnel, including those with certain immunocompromising conditions such as active cancer or HIV, to require a third dose of the vaccine. While the clinic is unable to offer third doses at this time, officials encourage anyone who needs one to consult with their healthcare provider and receive it off base.

He also encouraged anyone with questions about the vaccine to speak with their healthcare provider, or email the Public Health team at usaf.hanscom.66-abg.list.publichealth@mail.mil.

“When it comes to something as serious as your health, talk with your provider to make sure you’re getting the right information,” said Gough.

Chaplain (Maj.) Joe Watson addressed the process to apply for a religious accommodation waiver for any type of immunization.

Additional information can be found in Department of the Air Force Instruction 52-201, Accommodation of Religious Practices in the Air Force, or by contacting the base chapel at 781-225-5501.

Laurel Wironen, the school liaison officer here, briefed viewers on the upcoming Shawsheen Valley Technical High School and Lexington, Mass., school years that begin on Aug. 31, as well as the Hanscom and Bedford, Mass., school years, which begin Sept. 1.

“We’re looking forward to a great school year,” said Wironen, who reminded community members to take extra precautions while driving once the year begins.

The town hall also featured a representative from Hunt Military Communities, who briefed the community about ongoing and upcoming projects throughout base housing.

Specific questions about housing can be sent to hanscom@huntcompanies.com.