ANNAPOLIS, MD—Maryland National Guard Mobile Vaccination Support Teams (MVST) are working hard to support COVID-19 vaccination efforts around the state.
At the direction of Governor Larry Hogan, the Maryland National Guard (MDNG) created MVSTs to assist state and local health officials in administering vaccinations against the coronavirus in accordance with the state’s COVID-19 vaccination plan.
“This is just another great example of the responsiveness and agility of our National Guard,” said Governor Hogan. “Whether it was the massive response when the pandemic first hit last spring or the incredibly rapid deployment to the Capitol just recently, they’ve never failed to come through in a crisis.”
Since the MVST effort kicked off on January 6, they have assisted county vaccination efforts in Charles, Prince George’s, Talbot, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, St. Mary’s and Cecil counties. As of yesterday, MDNG MVSTs have administered more than 6,000 immunizations and were supporting an average of six locations a day. These efforts are continuing to ramp up as more counties request support and more vaccines become available.
The teams come from both the Maryland Army National Guard and the Maryland Air National Guard. They are composed of medical professionals and support personnel, and are fully trained, equipped, and prepared for this vital effort.
“Once again, we’re breaking new ground in the fight against COVID-19,” said Army Maj. Gen. Timothy E. Gowen, adjutant general for Maryland. “Last year it was helping to protect the most vulnerable at nursing homes. Now, we’re helping get the vaccine to the people who need it most. Neither of these are traditional military missions, and it really shows the versatility of our citizen soldiers and citizen airmen that they can pivot so quickly to tackle new missions.”
In addition to the county-led efforts, the state also has plans to establish mass vaccination sites in Maryland. The guard is working closely with state health officials in planning and preparing for the launch of these sites, which may come as soon as early February. Additionally, the guard has deployed troops to assist local health departments with operating coronavirus testing sites.
“Our members have substantial experience in supporting these types of facilities,” said Army Col. Eric Allely, MDNG state surgeon. “Last year, they helped set up or operate more than a dozen testing and screening sites across the state.”