Kentucky Guard achieves COVID vaccination milestone Published Nov. 10, 2021 By Sgt. Matthew Damon Kentucky National Guard FRANKFORT, Kentucky -- The Kentucky National Guard continued Operation Fortified Guardian, in which a surge of service members received their first dose, or second dose, of the COVID-19 vaccination.More than 250 vaccines were administered to Army and Air Guardsmen over the weekend. As of Wednesday, Nov. 10, approximately 91 percent of the force have received their first vaccination, and 73 percent received their second vaccination.“At this time, we have been given a direct lawful order to be vaccinated against COVID-19,” said Col. Timothy R. Starke, commander of the 75th Troop Command. “We will execute that order. Just like we do for every other immunization we are required to have as soldiers. This is about force protection and ensuring that we have a healthy force that can train without restrictions, and so that we are prepared to fight our nation’s wars abroad and respond to emergencies here at home.”Starke reiterated the importance of the vaccination and spoke on the history of mandatory vaccinations in the military.“Mandatory vaccinations have been part of the Army for nearly a century,” continued Starke. “This shot is no different. It is something we do to protect ourselves from illness and to keep our units from becoming combat ineffective due to disease, even if we have some reservations at the time.”Dependents of Guardsmen are authorized to receive the vaccine at their local medical facility. Booster vaccines are also available to Guardsmen who received their second dose six months prior, and those who are first responders, work in a high-risk environment, over 60 years old, or those who are immunocompromised and considered high risk.Guardsmen can receive the vaccine in a civilian capacity and submit the proper records to their respective units. These records are continually updated, and the percentage of vaccinated Guardsmen is expected to rise as these forms are uploaded.The Kentucky National Guard will continue administering the vaccine until all service members are protected against COVID-19.For the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic support, more than 300 Kentucky Guardsmen remain on duty for 19 hospitals across the commonwealth that remain in need of our service.