Dec 17, 2020 11:00 AM

Irwin Army Community Hospital officials wait on COVID-19 vaccine to arrive

Posted Dec 17, 2020 11:00 AM

Fort Riley is part of the Department of Defense COVID-19 vaccine plan to implement and standardize a coordinated strategy to prioritize COVID-19 vaccine.

Col. Edgar Arroyo, Irwin Army Community Hospital commander, told a Fort Riley town hall audience Wednesday, that some healthcare workers and first responders were inoculated this week at other installations including Fort Bragg and Fort Hood. It was part of the first wave of vaccination distribution. "There were 2,000 inoculations since then with no serious reactions."

Arroyo stated that they expects to get the vaccine at Irwin Army Community Hospital in  the coming week. "We do remain flexible and depending on the logistical flow across the nation. Rest assured that the moment that vaccine arrives on our loading docks in the hospital we will not lose a single day in administering COVID-19 vaccine."

Arroyo noted that the supply of the vaccine will be limited in the early stages, and prioritization  will follow Department of Defense and CDC guidelines. "We will focus initially on offering the vaccine first to frontline healthcare workers such as emergency room personnel, first responders, the police and fire personnel, second for our inpatient healthcare workers and support personnel, and third for our outpatient healthcare and support personnel, and last we will begin inoculating personnel deploying immediately through 2021."

Arroyo said he's encouraged all of his healthcare workers to take the vaccine to protect their health, families and all of  the people with whom they interact. The vaccine, however, is being offered on a voluntary basis. "I will not talk someone into getting the vaccine. I will tell you what we know about the vaccine, and equally important what we don't know about the vaccine."

Arroyo said that they understand that the vaccine is safe and all of the clinical trials and data is available to the public on the Centers for Disease Control web site.