180th Fighter Wing addresses on-base vaccinations
Wing Commander remarks on potential concerns among airmen, and how many people have received the vaccine
TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - We know the mighty roar of the F-16 fighter jets as they soar over the Northwest Ohio skies, but we don’t know everything about the hardships its service members are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the Associated Press, thousands of service members are saying no to the vaccine due to rumors of ineffectiveness and apprehension.
“Our job is to acknowledge the concern of the airmen, to understand it,” says Colonel Michael DiDio, Wing Commander for the 180th Fighter Wing. “A lot of the commanders have the same concerns for the same reasons.”
Col. DiDio adds while there have been concerns, most of the airmen and women eligible to get the vaccine already have it. The commander was actually the first one to roll up his sleeve for the COVID-19 shot back in January.
The 180th says 25% of the base has been vaccinated against COVID-19. That’s about 250 airmen.
“Stinger Nation” is not only protecting our skies, but aiding the state of Ohio -- and beyond.
“As National Guardsmen, the Governor can activate us, particularly for the COVID response,” adds Col. DiDio. “He’s utilized us to help with food banks -- they’ve taken shortage in their staffing. Prisons, as some of the prison staff has been affected by the pandemic. We augmented the Guard staff.”
The 180th is even helping distribute vaccines and PPE across the Buckeye State.
So far, only the first “tier” of vaccinations have been distributed on the base. The other 75% of service men and women are expected to receive their vaccines along with the general public by this summer.
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