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Iowa National Guard members receive COVID-19 vaccine

Technical Sgt. Perla Solis, 185th Air Refueling Wing medical technician, administers the first of two COVID-19 vaccines to an Airman from the Iowa Air National Guard at the Sioux City, Iowa, clinic on Jan. 9, 2021.

Technical Sgt. Perla Solis, 185th Air Refueling Wing medical technician, administers the first of two COVID-19 vaccines to an Airman from the Iowa Air National Guard at the Sioux City, Iowa, clinic on Jan. 9, 2021.

SIOUX CITY, Iowa – The first round of COVID-19 vaccines have been distributed to National Guard units around the nation. Initial inoculations were given to unit members of the Iowa National Guard’s 185th Air Refueling Wing during their January training weekend.

Early doses are being given to unit members considered “first tier,” people in the medical professions, fire and police protection and those who are scheduled to deploy, among others.

According to Lt Col. Tonja Winekauf, 185th ARW nurse practitioner, the unit received a limited amount of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. She said unit members will be given the second round of the two-part vaccine in coming weeks.

“The goal of providing the vaccine is to protect our unit members so we have a ready fighting force,” Winekauf said.

Winekauf said the inoculations are not mandatory, which is why the clinic distributed some first-round vaccines to unit members who are not among first-tier recipients.

“We were instructed to get the shots in arms,” Winekauf said.

Following the prescribed protocols, getting the “shots in the arm” is not a simple as just sending out an invitation. Winekauf said Iowa Guard members worked hard at all levels to ensure the maximum amount of coverage.

Winekauf said she expects additional doses to continue to arrive weekly. They will be distributed to units of the Iowa Air and Army National Guard as they arrive.

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