Maryland National Guard Administers More Than 100K COVID-19 Vaccines
As of April 3, 2021, Maryland National Guard members have administered more than 100,000 COVID-19 vaccine shots to Maryland citizens since early January.
The MDNG has reached this milestone with only 120 Soldiers and Airmen physically administering the vaccinations.
“The Maryland National Guard has achieved this milestone – nearly five percent of all vaccinations administered across the entire state – with about 100 activated vaccinators,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Benjamin Posil, MDNG liaison for the Maryland Department of Health. “[It] is truly a testament to the competence and dedication of our personnel.”
There are more than 1,000 Guard members supporting mobile vaccination support teams, mass vaccination sites, and testing sites across 11 counties and Baltimore City.
The MDNG has played key roles in establishing and operating mass vaccination sites at Six Flags America, Regency Stadium, M&T Bank Stadium, Wicomico Youth and Civic Center, and Hagerstown Premium Outlets.
In addition to administering vaccines and supporting vaccination sites, the MDNG has facilitated more than 60,000 COVID tests, averaging 900 self-swab tests daily at sites across the state. Guard members walk civilians through the process of administering the self-administered test, reducing the burden on local medical systems and necessitating fewer civilian medical personnel to be present at the test site.
Simultaneously, U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Janeen Birckhead, commander of the Maryland Army National Guard, has been performing community outreach as a part of her assignment as the Vaccine Equity Task Force leader. She has met with many community leaders to inform and connect their communities with state and local resources.
“That task force is working with the health department, local community figures, and the Maryland Department of Health to ensure equitable distribution of vaccine to underserved communities, rural communities, communities of color, and communities where we are seeing hesitancy in taking the vaccine,” Birckhead said during a recent interview.
From the mountains to the shore, the MDNG remains committed to supporting COVID testing and vaccination efforts.
“‘Normal life’ remains on hold because of the virus,” said Posil. “Having a leading role in helping to shape the employment of the Maryland National Guard’s resources to mitigate and ultimately eliminate the cause of this has been both a career and personal highlight.”