The West Texas VA Health Care System recently assisted community leaders, Texas National Guard members and residents of Big Spring, Texas, during a COVID-19 vaccination clinic.

Texas National Guard soldiers distribute
COVID-19 vaccines to residents in Big Spring, Texas.

The support came as a commitment to the VA’s fourth mission. It supports national, state and local emergency management, public health, safety and homeland security efforts.

The clinic distributed free vaccines to citizens within Howard County, a rural area of West Texas. In support of this effort, West Texas VA activated its mobile incident command unit (pictured above). The unit provides the Texas National Guard an ideal platform from which they could manage their vaccination clinic.

“We had the resources and the authorization to help, so there wasn’t any hesitation on our part to lend a hand,” said Jason Cave, West Texas director.

Big Spring hosted the drive-thru clinic through a program operated by the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM). With the help of TDEM, Big Spring was able to utilize National Guard support in distributing the vaccine.

“Able to get help from VA”

“This event is very important for the city,” said Craig Ferguson, Big Spring’s fire chief. “We were able to get help from VA in facilitating a space to distribute the vaccine. The National Guard was able to come in and provide experience and logistical support, which was essential.”

The city hosted the drive-thru clinic in the parking lot of Scenic Mountain Medical Center but needed the mobile incident command unit to round out the logistical support.

“It’s important to come out to these smaller rural communities and provide the vaccine,” said Sgt. Nicholas McCoy, with Task Force COVAX, a COVID-19 Vaccine operation. “Our mission is a success when people can show up and get vaccinated, leaving with a peace of mind that they got the vaccine.”

William Hatton is a public affairs specialist for the West Texas VA.

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Published on Apr. 17, 2021

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