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COVID-19 vaccines available at McChord Airman’s Clinic

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Mikayla Heineck
  • 62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The McChord Airman’s Clinic here is administering COVID-19 vaccinations to active-duty Air Force personnel, civilian employees and contractors.

Madigan Army Medical Center is the head of COVID-19 vaccination distribution for JBLM and is working toward decentralizing access to the vaccine by making it available at the Airman’s Clinic. This is Madigan’s first satellite clinic to distribute the vaccine, and depending on success rates, locations will be expanded.

“I’ve been working very closely with Madigan and I Corps since we started this,” said Maj. Jennifer Arce, 62nd Medical Squadron flight medicine nurse and officer in charge. “I think that the relationships we have with our Army counterparts, and the fact that we have equipment and the ability to store vaccines, made us a good first option.”

The McChord Clinic acquired an ultra-cold freezer in February 2021 to store vaccines. It is equipped with an alarm system that alerts someone if the temperature gets too high or too low, so that they can make sure that vaccine doses do not go to waste. Once a dose is reconstituted, it can only be used within six hours.

“We do everything in our power to not waste any vaccine,” Arce said. “If we happen to have extra re-constituted doses at the end of a day, we will find arms to put it in.”

The vaccine became available at the Airman’s Clinic on March 30. They have the capability to administer 30 vaccine doses per day, but are currently only doing roughly 12-20 per day.

“I think there’s a lot of hesitancy around getting the vaccine,” Arce said.

There are a lot of people who want things to go back to what we called normal and do what makes our life go round. That is why Arce made the personal decision to get the vaccine and play such a huge part in making sure people get vaccinated.

Mission-essential personnel became eligible to receive the vaccine at Madigan Army Medical Center in early February.

JBLM is in Phase two of vaccine distribution, which means it is available to everyone age 16 and up. However, vaccine appointments at the Airman’s Clinic are currently only available to Air Force service members, employees and contractors.

“Vaccines have been one of the biggest wins in the history of medicine, and this is just the first pandemic that most of us have lived through,” said Capt. Clarissa Lomonaco, 62nd MDS flight surgeon and pediatrician. “It’s easy to focus on the one in six million chance where somebody has a vaccine complication like a blood clot, and to not celebrate the millions of people who have done well with it.”

Lomonaco encourages people to talk to their healthcare provider if they are unsure about getting vaccinated.

To schedule a vaccination appointment at the McChord Airman’s Clinic, visit  https://informatics-stage.health.mil/COVAX