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Frontline Indiana Guardsmen receive COVID-19 vaccination

Soldier getting a vaccine in his left arm Approximately 200 Indiana National Guard soldiers and airmen received the COVID vaccination at the Johnson County Armory on Dec 16. (Photo by Indiana National Guardsman Sgt. Jeremiah Runser.)

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Approximately 200 Indiana National Guard soldiers and airmen received the COVID-19 vaccination on Dec 16 at the Johnson County Armory.

The Guardsmen who received the vaccination have been on the frontline of pandemic response missions including at long-term care facilities, COVID-19 testing sites, protective equipment distribution warehouses and food banks.

Select Guardsmen are receiving vaccinations as part of a Department of Defense program that allocated doses, in a program separate from the shipments of vaccine the state of Indiana is receiving for frontline civilian healthcare workers. Indiana and New York are the first two National Guard states to pilot this Defense Department program.

"In March, we answered the governor's call to stand with the state in the fight against the spread of the virus," said Army Brig. Gen. Dale Lyles, Indiana National Guard adjutant general. "Our soldiers and airmen responded by filling critical roles across the state standing shoulder to shoulder with our fellow Hoosiers as we tackle this insidious virus."

These Guardsmen are trained medics who also took Centers for Disease Control and Prevention courses specific to the coronavirus, including administering the COVID-19 vaccination and best practices for patient care and curbside or drive-thru immunization activities.

"I have such a strong sense of pride and honor that the Indiana National Guard is helping to lead the way out of the pandemic," said Army Col. Michael Jones, Indiana Army National Guard state surgeon. "Our Guardsmen, as well as Hoosiers, are better protected by receiving and assisting in the administration of the COVID vaccine."

Since the pandemic response missions began in March, Indiana Guardsmen have been in the trenches fighting the COVID-19 battle primarily on the defensive with masks, sanitizing and distancing techniques.

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