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NEWS | Oct. 4, 2021

Air Force Undersecretary receives insight into COVID-19 vaccinations at 433rd Airlift Wing

By Tech. Sgt. Samantha Mathison 433rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Under Secretary of the Air Force Gina Ortiz Jones visited the 433rd Airlift Wing at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland Oct. 2 to meet with Reserve Citizen Airmen leaders on mandatory COVID-19 vaccination efforts.

Jones walked through the Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center where unvaccinated members of the 433rd AW were gathered to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, or get further counseling in cases of those still hesitant.

“It’s about readiness,” Jones said to a group of medical Airmen she stopped to talk with. “We’ve needlessly lost too many Air Force teammates to COVID-19, so we need to get vaccinated. We need to be mission ready.”

During her conversations there, topics centered around efforts to meet the Department of Defense deadline of Dec. 2, medical and religious concerns, exemption policies and processes, and best practices for battling misinformation surrounding the vaccine.

Jones also visited the 433rd Medical Group for a walkthrough of the facility and a critical care air transport team, or CCATT, equipment demonstration.

A CCATT is a highly specialized and uniquely skilled three-person medical team that augments standard aeromedical evacuation crew members, and turns an aircraft into a flying intensive care unit, when critically ill or injured patients require continuous monitoring, stabilization or complex care while in-transit to a medical treatment facility.

Col. Luis Berrios, 433rd Aerospace Medicine Squadron commander, helped to facilitate Jones’ visit and assist with the communication of objectives.

“It was a pleasure to showcase the multiple operations the 433rd AMDS and our medical group partners conducted today, including in-person and virtual preventive health assessments, COVID-19 vaccinations for over 250 Airmen, processing medical exemptions, providing guidance to squadron commanders and supporting our chaplain partners with religious exemptions,” Berrios said.

“We emphasized that the outstanding collaboration between the 433rd Airlift Wing, 960th Cyberspace Wing and 59th Medical Wing allows our medical group to successfully achieve our COVID-19 vaccination tasking,” he said. “We couldn’t be prouder to ensure the health, safety and readiness of over 2,800 Airmen.”