15 Oklahoma National Guardsmen To Help Distribute COVID-19 Vaccine

Monday, December 14th 2020, 5:30 pm

The Oklahoma National Guard will help distribute the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine from five main sites across the state, to other satellite locations.

Lt. Col. Geoff Legler said Oklahoma guardsmen will hit the road sometime Tuesday morning to start delivering the vaccine to predetermined sites across the state.  

The Oklahoma National Guard said there are 15 guardsmen on this mission. Lt. Col. Legler said this will allow for up to seven drivers to take the vaccine from the five main hubs to the more remote satellite locations.  He said each driver will be joined by another guardsman to help navigate. He also said there will also be one officer overseeing all the deliveries. 

Army Brig. Gen. Cynthia Tinkham said in a phone conference with reporters Monday, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol will escort each vehicle.  The Oklahoma National Guard said guardsmen will not travel in military vehicles, but rather in vehicles provided by the state department of health that are already prepared to carry the Pfizer vaccine.  

Legler estimated the longest guardsmen may have to travel is three hours.  

Gen. Tinkham recognized this is a historic mission. 

"I am sure that the soldiers are very proud to be involved in this mission and everyone has a sense of excitement to see that we are getting the vaccines and that we are getting to support our partners in the state in executing this plan,” she said.  

Aside from Oklahoma, governors in 25 other states and territories are planning to use their National Guard in some capacity to distribute the vaccine.