MADISON, Wis. — A small team of Citizen-Soldiers and -Airmen from the Wisconsin National Guard supported the distribution of the state’s first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines.
Approximately 20 troops are helping manage vaccine inventory at undisclosed sites across the state.
The troops are serving in a support role in coordination with other state partners and agencies helping to roll out the vaccine – including the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Wisconsin Emergency Management, the Wisconsin State Patrol, as the state seeks to vaccinate health care workers.
The National Guard troops represent a key element of the effort, assisting in handling the inventory of the initial supply of vaccines and preparing them for delivery to facilities that need them.
The Guard is not conducting vaccine transport or security missions at this time.
“The Soldiers and Airmen of the Wisconsin National Guard continue to step up to do whatever our state asks of them during this pandemic,” said Maj. Gen. Paul Knapp, Wisconsin’s adjutant general. “We’re proud to assist our partner agencies and our fellow citizens in this small but critical role to get the vaccine distributed as efficiently as possible.”
This week, the Wisconsin National Guard concluded its mission to staff a state call center that informed residents of their COVID-19 test results. Dozens of Wisconsin National Guard members had staffed the call center since mass community-based testing began in the spring, placing nearly 560,000 calls. Now, most test results arrive via text or email.
Since March, more than 1,600 Wisconsin Guard members have served in various roles in the fight against the coronavirus. The Guard has administered nearly 1 million COVID-19 tests statewide since April. Guard members staffed a warehouse that managed shipments of personal protective equipment, while others provided medical and administrative support at self-isolation facilities in the early stages of the pandemic.
Thousands more Guard members staffed polling sites in four Wisconsin elections since April, as pandemic fears resulted in mass shortages of volunteers at polling locations around the state.