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489th Bomb Group takes first round of COVID-19 vaccine

Photo of Airman with sleeve rolled up taking a shot.

U.S. Air Force Col. Christopher Hawn, 489th Bomb Group commander, takes the first round of COVID-19 vaccine at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, Feb. 7, 2021. Hawn, like dozens of other traditional Reservists in the 307th Bomb Wing, volunteered to take the vaccine. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Master Sgt. Ted Daigle)

Photo of needle going into an arm.

An Airman assigned to the 489th Aerospace Medical Flight administers the first round of COVID-19 vaccine at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, Feb. 7, 2021. The 489th Bomb Group Airmen were the first traditional Reservists in the 307th Bomb Wing to take the vaccine. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Master Sgt. Ted Daigle)

Airman holds a botte of COVID-19 vaccine.

Reserve Citizen Airmen of the 489th Bomb Group, a geographically separated unit of the 307th Bomb Wing, took their first round of COVID-19 vaccine at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, Feb. 7, 2021. The vaccine arrived two days before the February unit training assembly. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ted Daigle)

DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --

Reserve Citizen Airmen of the 489th Bomb Group, a geographically separated unit of the 307th Bomb Wing, took their first round of voluntary COVID-19 vaccinations here today.

The vaccinations were the first to be made available to traditional Reservists of the 307th Bomb Wing, adding to the growing list of units already vaccinated in the Air Force Reserve Command.

“The long-term effects of the virus are still unknown, so vaccinations like this are important because it gives the body a chance to fight off the disease faster and possibly avoid any long-term negative effects,” said Maj. Jeff Barlow, 489th Aerospace Medical Flight nurse practitioner.

The 489th AMDF accepted 100 doses of the vaccine two days before the scheduled unit training assembly. They coordinated with the active-duty 7th Medical Group to ensure the vaccine remained viable.

Lt. Col. Jill Stevens, 489th AMDF chief nurse, said the quick turnaround required extra training to ensure it was administered safely and effectively.

“We came in early to complete the necessary training modules and shadowed the active-duty physician in charge of their vaccination program to learn from their processes,” she said.

Reserve Citizen Airmen taking the vaccine were given a short briefing by Lt. Col. Sandeep Gill, 489th AMDF flight surgeon. He explained how the vaccine works and answered questions after each lesson.

Two doses of the vaccine must be administered no more than 28 to 42 days apart for it to be effective. Members electing to get the vaccine must be present for the March unit training assembly and cannot be scheduled to fly within 36 hours of receiving the vaccine.