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28th MDG successfully provides COVID-19 vaccines at POD

Maria Escobedo Galan, spouse of Staff Sgt. Matthew Escobedo, a 28th Operations Support Squadron noncommissioned officer in charge of aircrew flight equipment, prepares to receive her Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine from Senior Airman Cyrill Lueck, a 28th Medical Group immunization technician, during the 28th MDG point of distribution (POD) event at the Installation Deployment Readiness Center on Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., March 19, 2021. During the POD event, the 28th MDG provided approximately 1,250 beneficiaries with their first or second doses (if they received the first dose from the 28th MDG) of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine within a 12-hour period. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christina Bennett)

Maria Escobedo Galan, spouse of Staff Sgt. Matthew Escobedo, a 28th Operations Support Squadron noncommissioned officer in charge of aircrew flight equipment, prepares to receive her Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine from Senior Airman Cyrill Lueck, a 28th Medical Group immunization technician, during the 28th MDG point of distribution (POD) event at the Installation Deployment Readiness Center on Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., March 19, 2021. During the POD event, the 28th MDG provided approximately 1,250 beneficiaries with their first or second doses (if they received the first dose from the 28th MDG) of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine within a 12-hour period. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christina Bennett)

A 28th Medical Group immunization technician provides the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to a beneficiary during a point of distribution (POD) event at the Installation Deployment Readiness Center on Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., March 19, 2021. During the POD event, the 28th MDG provided approximately 1,250 beneficiaries with their first or second doses (if the first dose was provided by the 28th MDG) of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine within a 12-hour period. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christina Bennett)

A 28th Medical Group immunization technician provides the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to a beneficiary during a point of distribution (POD) event at the Installation Deployment Readiness Center on Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., March 19, 2021. During the POD event, the 28th MDG provided approximately 1,250 beneficiaries with their first or second doses (if the first dose was provided by the 28th MDG) of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine within a 12-hour period. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christina Bennett)

The 28th Medical Group provided approximately 1,250 beneficiaries with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine using the point of distribution (POD) concept at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., March 19, 2021. The POD concept allows immunization specialists to deliver the vaccine to a large population within a limited amount of time. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christina Bennett)

The 28th Medical Group provided approximately 1,250 beneficiaries with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine using the point of distribution (POD) concept at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., March 19, 2021. The POD concept allows immunization specialists to deliver the vaccine to a large population within a limited amount of time. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christina Bennett)

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. -- The 28th Medical Group used the point of distribution (POD) concept to provide approximately 1,250 beneficiaries with their first or second doses (if the first was administered by the 28th MDG) of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine within a 12-hour period March 19.

The POD provides the 28th MDG with the ability to immunize a large population within a limited amount of time, reducing health risks within the community and keeping Airmen mission ready.

“The goal of the POD is to safely process as many people as possible, as quickly as possible and to provide population-level countermeasures,” Col. Robert Corby, the 28th MDG commander. “In this case, that countermeasure is a safe and effective vaccine that helps us to combat the invisible enemy - COVID-19.”

The 28th MDG has provided immunizations using the POD concept for approximately two months. Shipments of the Pfizer vaccine began in late January but availability was limited to medical staff, first responders, deploying forces, and other essential personnel in line with the Department of Defense’s vaccination and distribution plan.

“The difference with this POD is that we were able to open up the process to a wider population,” stated Corby. “This was the largest throughput of patients that we have seen to date, and it went very well.”

Corby emphasized that executing POD operations requires strategy, as well as a team effort.

“The planning for a POD operation begins well ahead of the event, and – depending on the scope and size of the POD – includes multiple wing agencies,” said Corby. “While the focus of the POD setup is medical, it is absolutely a wing-level effort.”

Contingent upon vaccine supply and mission requirements, the next POD is scheduled to take place in mid-April. Individuals who received their first dose on March 19 will have the ability to receive a second dose within their 21- to 42-day vaccination window.

Individuals who are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and unable to attend the POD event, can call the 28th MDG appointment line at (605) 385-6700 to schedule an appointment at the base immunization clinic. To ensure no vaccines are wasted, appointments are scheduled in groups of six.

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