NEWS | Sept. 10, 2021

Feedback Fridays

By Brig. Gen. Caroline M. Miller 502d Air Base Wing Commander

Feedback Fridays is a weekly forum that aims to connect the 502d Air Base Wing with members of the Joint Base San Antonio community. Questions are collected during commander’s calls, town hall meetings and throughout the week.

If you have a question or concern, please send an email to jbsapublicaffairs@gmail.com using the subject line “Feedback Fridays.” Questions will be further researched and published as information becomes available.

Q:  The Delta variant is causing massive increases in the community spread of COVID-19.

Bexar County currently has the 22nd highest positivity rate of all 248 counties of Texas. The 7-day average of new cases is higher than the last time (Jan. 3, 2021) that Health Protection, or HPCON, Charlie was enacted.

Why are JBSA installations still in Bravo+ HPCON levels and is there no concern for the families of new Airmen visiting the city when the variant is transmissible by and still affects even vaccinated individuals?

A: The HPCON level guidelines are one of the major risk tools that the commander considers when making decisions about the HPCON level.

Other tools that the commander uses include discussions with JBSA Public Health Emergency Officers, Installation medical authorities, vaccination status of the population, mission partners (Stakeholders), and impact to missions across the area of operation.

The HPCON level guidelines are just a guide and not a policy and regulation, thus it is a tool that commanders employ to assist them in making a decision.

Q: Will the COVID-19 vaccine be mandatory for service members soon?

I have heard rumors of the vaccine becoming mandatory for us and would not be surprised if it does become mandatory but just wanted to be ready for when it does happen.

Thank you for your time.

A: Thank you for this question as I feel that this is very important information.    

On Aug. 24, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III issued a memorandum for mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations of Department of Defense Service members.

The memo directs the secretaries of the military departments to immediately begin full vaccination of all members of the Armed Forces under Department of Defense authority on active duty or in the Reserve or Guard.

Vaccination against COVID-19 will only use vaccines that receive full licensure from the Food and Drug Administration.

Timelines to receive the vaccine will be made clear soon and your leadership will keep you informed.