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MDS implements COVID testing procedures, set to begin weekly vaccine, booster POD

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – Officials from the 66th Medical Squadron will transition from providing daily walk-in COVID vaccine and booster shots to a weekly point of distribution beginning Jan. 13, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the former base theater location.

The change will allow the clinic to provide more vaccines to personnel, according to MDS officials.

“The data is showing us that the more vaccinated you are, the less likely you are to experience severe symptoms, hospitalization, or even death,” said Lt. Col. Ryan Gough, 66 MDS public health emergency officer.

Walk-in vaccines and boosters will remain available Jan. 7 at the Immunization Clinic here from 1 to 3 p.m.

After the Jan. 13 POD, the next POD will take place Jan. 21 and continue every Friday at the former base theater here from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Hanscom personnel will be able to secure POD appointments at https://health.mil/dap.html.

Currently, the 66 MDS is offering initial vaccine doses of Moderna for patients 18 and older, and Pfizer for patients ages 5 and older. Moderna boosters are available for patients 18 and older, and Pfizer boosters are available for patients 16 and older.

At this time, only the Pfizer vaccine has been approved for use in children ages 5 to 11, and for boosters in children ages 16 and 17 who completed their initial COVID vaccine series more than six months ago. 

Gough said confirmatory COVID testing will continue to be offered at the clinic to TRICARE beneficiaries and Department of the Air Force employees as the demand for testing increases.

Individuals who test positive for COVID using an-at home test must schedule a confirmatory PCR test with the 66 MDS, their healthcare provider, or an authorized laboratory-based tester before reporting their case to Public Health for contract tracing procedures.

“We have to prioritize testing for active duty members, mission critical cases, and those required for official travel,” said Gough. “We will work to get everyone tested who needs to be, but there may be a two- to three-day wait for results.”

Confirmatory tests can be scheduled by calling the Hanscom Clinic appointment line at 781-225-6789. Testing is done Monday through Friday from 8 to 11 a.m.

Current Hanscom AFB guidance states personnel who are confirmed positive must isolate for 10 days, regardless of vaccination status or symptoms, beginning from either the day their symptoms began or, if asymptomatic, the day they receive their positive test.

Additional information on isolation procedures for vaccinated and unvaccinated personnel who are identified as a close contact with a confirmed positive patient can be found at www.Hanscom.af.mil/Coronavirus.

Symptomatic individuals, regardless of negative testing, are encouraged to stay home until their symptoms resolve.

“Symptoms we’re seeing that are most associated with COVID are a dry cough, sore throat, and headache,” said Gough. “However, anyone showing signs of illness should stay home until their symptoms resolve.”

Visit the link above for more information on Hanscom COVID guidance.