National Guard aid in COVID inoculation efforts

  • Spc. Madalyn Stella, combat medic, 197th Feld Artillery Brigade, New Hampshire Army National Guard, emerges from a medical tent with a COVID-19 vaccine for an awaiting patient Dec. 29 in Exeter, N.H. Stella is one of 11 NH Guardsmen assigned to the vaccination station, one of 13 across the state. U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Charles Johnston. Staff Sgt. Charles Johnson—National Guard

  • Spc. Madalyn Stella, combat medic, 197th Field Artillery Brigade, New Hampshire Army National Guard, administers a COVID-19 vaccination to Stacy Gillis, a civilian paramedic, Dec. 29 in Exeter. Staff Sgt. Charles Johnson / National Guard

For the National Guard
Published: 1/8/2021 8:12:28 AM
Modified: 1/8/2021 8:12:14 AM

Thirteen vaccination sites officially opened for New Hampshire first responders and high-risk ambulatory care providers Dec. 29.

Teams of New Hampshire Guardsmen were assigned to each site to manage traffic, logistics and administer vaccines.

“We’ve been able to rotate people through very regularly, very easily,” said Sgt. 1st Class Jennifer Boisvert, noncommissioned officer in charge of the Exeter site. “From the time you drive in, to the time you get your vaccination to actually leaving, you’re probably only here for about 20 minutes.”

Guardsmen funnel cars through security points, confirme appointments and check IDs. Patients park and receive vaccines from within their vehicles. After a 15-minute observation period, the process was complete.

“We’re just going to get better as time goes on,” said Capt. James Miller, officer in charge at the Exeter location.

Miller was activated earlier this month to command a team of 11 soldiers and airmen for the first phase of vaccinations – one of more than 100 guardsmen assigned to the state vaccination mission.

“We’re certainly doing something for the betterment of society,” Miller said. “We’re trying to take care of the community and make sure we can go back to normal as soon as possible.”

One of the experienced soldiers is Spc. Madalyn Stella, a combat medic who has been activated since April at COVID-19 testing sites.

“It’s actually going really well. Being a field medic, I’m used to outside stuff. But administering drugs, like a vaccine outside, is pretty uncommon – even for the Army,” Stella said.

Stella is prepared to remain on active duty orders until the mission is completed.

“We’re soldiers and we just carry on and carry on,” Stella said “And then when you take a second you’re like, ‘Wow, I’m part of this bigger picture, and it’s pretty incredible.’ We’ll get through this one day at a time.”

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