JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, ALASKA – Paratroopers with the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, “Spartan Brigade,” received their initial dose of the COVID-19 vaccine here Jan. 4, 2021
Spartan medics and physicians were the first to receive the first of two doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Their second dose will be in approximately three weeks. They were the first paratroopers on JBER to be vaccinated and will play a crucial role in helping distribute future batches of the vaccine to the rest of the Spartan Brigade.
“I am a combat medic with 3G (3rd battalion, 509th Infantry (Airborne),” said Sgt. Jason Hidlebaugh, the first paratrooper in the Spartan Brigade to receive the vaccine. “I will be responsible for providing the vaccine to all my fellow paratroopers in the future.”
As medics and physicians, they are at a higher risk of exposure to the virus, making them a priority for vaccination to ensure the safety and health of their patients.
“Our medics were chosen to be the first because they are a high risk category,” said Cpt. Jacob Shook, a medical physician with the Spartan Brigade. “They regularly deal with patients and can be exposed to the virus more easily and they will play a key role when the rest of the brigade receives the vaccine.”
Providing the vaccine to medics and physicians within the brigade is part of a phased approach that prioritizes health care workers and other high-risk or critical positions. Vaccinations will continue in phases until vaccine manufacturing and distribution allows for full-scale, unrestricted distribution similar to the annual Department of Defense’s influenza vaccine program.
The first batch of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine arrived on JBER Dec. 31, 2020.
All soldiers, even those who have been vaccinated, will continue to follow current safety measures and will wear appropriate masks, practice physical distancing, wash hands and restrict movement in accordance with COVID-19 safety mitigations.