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Behind the Lines: Robins AFB begins first tier vaccinations, awaits another shipment

Colonel Brian Moore says Robins received a small shipments of vaccines and laid out plans to distribute more when they come in.

WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Robins Air Force Base, like every other business, had to make adjustments.

"We were learning just like everybody else," Colonel Brian Moore, 78th Air Base Wing Commander at Robins said. "We looked at how can we potentially telework here on the base and be effective."

However, it was not as simple for some jobs on base.

"You can't fix a C-17 aircraft in your living room," Moore said.

Getting those big planes repaired and back to the nation's warfighters presented some big problems. Col. Moore says they required masks and promoted hand washing and social distancing as much as possible.

"We as a base set the standard early on and the greater Air Force has looked at some of those things as best practices," Moore said.

Some of those practices include creating a team of contact tracers and finding ways to keep employees on the job through what they call 'quarantine at work.'

"Where a team has been exposed and yet we're able to keep them safe, keep them away from others so that they're not passing it on, and yet still keeping that process or whatever that team is doing running," Moore said.

The next challenge is the COVID-19 vaccine and getting it those who need it most.

"We haven't received too many doses yet, but we're optimistic we're going to get it soon," Moore said.

Unlike other clinics and health departments in Georgia, Robins gets vaccines through the Department of Defense, along with protocols for who gets them first.

"With our initial set of doses, we were able to work with our first tier, which is really our emergency responders, our medical providers, our security forces and fire department. Then, we were able to get through some of our upcoming deployers," he said.

Moore says he does not know when the base will receive another shipment of the vaccine, but he hopes they will soon be able to get high-risk employees their first dose.