RICHMOND, Va. — The Virginia National Guard is reconfiguring the task force currently conducting COVID-19 testing and mask fit training to create mobile vaccination teams to provide additional capacity for the statewide vaccination program.
The new teams will consist of Army and Air National Guard medics trained and certified by the Virginia Department of Health to administer the vaccines. These teams will also include supervisory, medical, administrative and logistics specialists that manage the operations of the team.
The VNG plans to reconfigure its current testing task force into five mobile vaccination teams. Each team is expected to provide a capacity of up to 250 vaccines a day in support of localities. The mobile teams will remain deployed under the direction of the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and Virginia Department of Health.
The teams will also conduct COVID-19 testing, as needed.
The VNG has a limited number of medical providers available due to other military operational requirements and planned overseas deployments.
Approximately 325 Virginia National Guard Soldiers and Airmen operating in two battalion task forces from multiple units are supporting the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and the Virginia Department of Health at COVID-19 community vaccination sites across the commonwealth.
Starting March 1, 2021, a new battalion task force began a two-week training period at community vaccination sites across Virginia. At the end of the training period, the Virginia COVID-19 Unified Command will set priorities and decide where the VNG personnel will deploy to provide logistics, administrative and operational support.
Since COVID response operations began in April 2020, VNG personnel have collected more than 172,000 samples for testing, and have conducted thousands of N95 respirator mask fit testing in support of localities.
Missions from April through July 2020 included providing support to food banks across the state, helping distribute nearly 1,350,000 pounds of food. VNG personnel also provided more than 51,000 hours in planning augmentation to VDEM.