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Pa. National Guard supports Philadelphia vaccination center

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Kevin Stapleton
  • Joint Force Headquarters - Pennsylvania National Guard

PHILADELPHIA – More than 40 Pennsylvania National Guard members are supporting a mass vaccination center in Philadelphia.

A total of 41 Soldiers and Airmen from the Pennsylvania National Guard are supporting the state-run, federally supported Center City Community Vaccination Center at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. The vaccination center is a partnership between the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the city of Philadelphia, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania National Guard contingent consists of Soldiers and Airmen from units throughout the state, including the 728th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion based in Lock Haven, the 111th Attack Wing based in Horsham, and the 193rd Special Operations Wing based in Middletown.

“This is a joint mission to help vaccinate Pennsylvania,” said Lt. Col. Joseph E. Hensley, commanding officer of the Pennsylvania National Guard detachment in Philadelphia. “Who better to do it than the joint force, including the Pennsylvania National Guard?”

The Guard members will be working solely in non-clinical, general-purpose support roles such as registration and processing, augmenting the Marines and Sailors of Combat Logistics Battalion 22 who have been serving at the community vaccination center since late February.

The Center City Community Vaccination Center is a Type 1 site and has administered 6,000 vaccinations daily for the past several weeks. The center recently surpassed 50,000 total vaccinations and continues to operate 12 hours per day, seven days a week.

“The Pennsylvania National Guard is honored to be a part of this mission that will ultimately aid in recovery from the pandemic,” said Staff Sgt. Brian D. Bean, noncommissioned officer n charge of the Pennsylvania National Guard detachment in Philadelphia. “Helping our fellow citizens is at the core of what drives our Soldiers and Airmen.”

Janice Barlow, FEMA Region 3 acting administrator, lauded the multi-agency partnership.

“The Pennsylvania National Guard’s support of the Center City Community Vaccination Center lends critical experience and expertise to FEMA’s federally supported, state-managed and locally executed community vaccination center mission,” Barlow said. “The National Guard Soldiers and Airmen, working alongside active duty Sailors and Marines, as well as FEMA and city staff, truly highlights the levels of interagency partnership supporting the city of Philadelphia’s safe, timely and equitable distribution of vaccines.”