‘First vials of hope’ arrives on Fort Drum, medical personnel and leaders vaccinated against COVID-19

New York State

Col. Jeffery Lucas receives the COVID-19 vaccine Jan. 12 at the Occupational Health center in Guthrie Ambulatory Health Care Clinic from Sgt. Gregory Yacovou, a medic with 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (LI). Lucas joins several senior leaders to set the example at Fort Drum about the importance of getting vaccinated to fight the pandemic. Fort Drum Medical Activity personnel, health care workers and first responders were among the first community members on post to get vaccinated, in accordance with the Department of Defense phased vaccine distribution plan. (Photo by Mike Strasser, Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs)

FORT DRUM, N.Y. (WWTI) — Leaders and frontline workers were among the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine on Fort Drum.

Following the arrival of the “first vials of hope” on the Fort Drum installment, medical personnel, emergency responders, health care workers and leaders of the 10th Mountain Division (LI) and Garrison command team received some of the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

According to Army Public Health Nursing Chief Major Dexter Williams, Fort Drum is following the phased vaccine plan provided by the United States Department of Defense. The initial phase of the plan includes first responders, public safety personnel and other essential workers

Major Williams stated that Fort Drum Medics and the Second Brigade Combat Team are “working tirelessly” to administer the vaccine.

“We are genuinely excited to put our plan into action,” stated Williams. “It was a lot of long hours, as a team, planning for this. Now to see it being executed, it’s great.”

Fort Drum Firefighter Grayden Brunet was one of the first individuals to receive the vaccine this week. He shared his thoughts.

“As a firefighter and an EMT (emergency medical technician), I respond to a higher volume of COVID emergencies,” stated Brunet. “So, I am taking this vaccine today not only to protect myself, my co-workers and family, but everyone on the installation.”

Fort Drum also shared on Monday that Bowe COVID-19 Treatment Clinic Nurse Mary Paul was officially the first in line to receive the vaccine.

Fort Drum Medical Activity personnel administered the first COVID-19 vaccines Jan. 11. Mary Paul, a nurse with the Bowe COVID-19 treatment clinic and Chicago native, was the very first person to receive the vaccine on post (Photo by Warren Wright, Fort Drum MEDDAC PAO)

“Working with the COVID team since the beginning, it only makes sense,” shared Paul. “If the vaccine is offered, we might as well do our part and start getting the community vaccinated so we can all get back to normal and carry on.”

Receiving the vaccine on Fort Drum is voluntary, however senior leaders are encouraging everyone to receive the shot when it is available to them.

Fort Drum confirmed that in the coming weeks, other people will have the opportunity to receive the vaccine, including deploying service members, high-risk community members and, lastly, the healthy population. Fort Drum Medical Activity officials, overseeing the vaccination rollout on post, said that the vaccine eventually will be available to all TRICARE beneficiaries.

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