Why can’t the Oklahoma governor activate Oklahoma Army National Guard and the Oklahoma Air National Guard units to take the lead in a general population vaccination program to augment local hospitals and retail pharmacy service providers?
Our Oklahoma Army and Air National Guard units possess physical resources designed to deploy anywhere on short notice (temporary portable buildings, transportation assets and personnel who can be readily trained and authorized to perform vaccinations).
Guard units can set up operations at sites readily available to the general public, such as unoccupied parking lots at commercial shopping centers, mega church parking lots, fairground parking lots and lots at city parks.
Funding to make this happen needs to be appropriated from the state budget on an emergency basis with federal financial guarantees sought after by a specific request from the Oklahoma congressional delegation.
Overlooking the possibility of incorporating our state’s own National Guard logistics assets at the local level is a missed opportunity to speed up the vaccination of our state’s population.
David Leech, Tulsa
Editor’s note: In December, Military Times reported that about 15 guardsmen in Oklahoma are assisting in repackaging and transporting doses the last mile to health-care providers. They support the state health department by safely transporting the vaccine, breaking it up from five pre-positioned sites, and distributing those to the health department satellite sites.
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