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NEWS | March 31, 2021

17th MDG uses innovative system to distribute COVID-19 vaccines

By Senior Airman Ashley Thrash 17th Training Wing Public Affairs

In response to COVID-19, the 17th Medical Group adapted and executed the first Point of Distribution system here in Goodfellow’s history for the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.

In January, the 17th MDG began practicing the implementation of the POD system. The system was derived from the Mass Prophylaxis Plan layout from the Air Force Medical Readiness Template and was modified per every installation’s capabilities. The 17th MDG POD manager, Maj. Jessica Pabon, 17th MDG Diagnostics and Therapeutics Flight commander, devised a modified construct with personalized improvements which enabled safe and efficient care for all volunteer vaccine recipients.

The medical construct consisted of eight main and three support functions. These functions included individuals that worked as greeters, screeners, intake personnel, vaccinators, running the observation area, and a response team. While others worked command and control and prepared vaccines. Additional support functions included facilities, logistics and mental health.

 “The planning phase was pretty extensive,” said Pabon. “We held multiple meetings and an official tabletop exercise nearly four months prior to when we were projected to receive the vaccines. During these sessions we coordinated with all applicable wing entities to discuss what we needed, how to achieve it and any additional concerns.”

The 17th MDG’s extensive preparation resulted in continued POD operations during a power outage, Winter Storm Uri, and boil water notices.

“This was a success, to have maxed our projected throughput, have smooth flowing operations and zero patient harm,” said Pabon. “We are still developing best practices, and smoother processes. We will continue to serve our patient population according to the Department of Defense population schema.”

In March, vaccines opened to TRICARE beneficiaries and dependents of those members who work on base.

“It was awesome seeing retirees, dependents and people from multiple services getting the vaccine,” said Staff Sgt. Layne Jackson, 17th Training Wing Equal Opportunity specialist. “At one point in time people were concerned asking when they would receive the vaccine or how they would obtain it. It’s great to see how Goodfellow has made the vaccine accessible for everyone.”

The 17th MDG’s efforts have contributed to an overall estimated 355,000 vaccines that have been distributed Air Force wide.