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Vaccine appointments available at MDS facilities

Master Sgt. Joshua Dennis, 66th Medical Squadron medical operations technician, prepares a COVID-19 vaccination dose at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., April 9. The 66 MDS currently has an increased vaccine availability for all personnel with a valid Department of Defense identification card. (U.S. Air Force photo by Mark Herlihy)

Master Sgt. Joshua Dennis, 66th Medical Squadron medical operations technician, prepares a COVID-19 vaccination dose at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., April 9. The 66 MDS currently has an increased vaccine availability for all personnel with a valid Department of Defense identification card. (U.S. Air Force photo by Mark Herlihy)

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – The 66th Medical Squadron here has increased availability of COVID vaccine appointments for personnel with a valid Department of Defense identification card.   

Currently, appointments are available for both Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.

“If personnel have a preference for which vaccine they want, we encourage them to make their appointment now rather than later,” said Lt. Col. Ryan Gough, 66 MDS public health emergency officer.

While professionals from the 66 MDS Public Health team are available to answer any questions about the vaccine, Gough said personnel should talk with their civilian, enlisted and officer wingmen to find out why they got vaccinated.

“I got vaccinated for my own personal health and for my family’s health, because I have an elderly parent,” said Dan Jalbert, 66th Force Support Squadron Conference Center manager. “I personally believe that it was a decision for the betterment of my community.”

Vaccinations can be scheduled through the Defense Health Agency Appointing Portal at /informatics-stage.health.mil/COVAX/.

Medical officials ask that patients scheduling Moderna vaccine appointments schedule both first and second doses at the same time via the app. Those receiving Pfizer should schedule their first does via the app and their second dose while on site. 

At this time, only the Pfizer vaccine is authorized for individuals age 16 and up. Individuals age 18 and up are eligible to receive either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines at Hanscom.

Gough is reassuring members who may be waiting to get a vaccine that vaccination is the best way to ensure the health and safety of the community.

“The virus isn’t going away anytime soon, so I really encourage everyone to be proactive instead of reactive following a potential exposure,” he said.

During a briefing on COVID-19 at the Pentagon this week, Department of Defense health officials said the vaccine is being administered as fast as it's received.

As of April 21, DOD has administered over 2.62 million doses to those eligible within the department, and at least another 440,000 doses administered to beneficiaries in the Tricare pharmacy and provider network.

During the briefing, Dr. Terry Adirim, acting assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, said, "We are encouraging everyone to get vaccinated because these vaccines are very effective and safe and are a critical part of us getting back to normal."