Utah National Guard

Utah National Guard begins helping with COVID-19 vaccinations

By Jed Boal, KSL TV | Posted - Jan. 23, 2021 at 4:22 p.m.

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SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah National Guard this week added new support to the COVID-19 response mission.

Working with the Utah Department of Health, guardsmen are now giving vaccinations and antibody infusions to patients in long-term care facilities throughout the state.

"It's a historic response. We're just glad to be a part of it," said Tech Sgt. Erik Bornemeier, a trained medic who has been assisting with the COVID-19 response since early May.

It's his job to build programs for the Utah National Guard. He was involved in building up the COVID-19 response programs they are using today.

Earlier this week, members of the Utah National Guard started giving vaccinations in Utah County to civilians age 70 and older.

"I've had a lot of my colleagues and other guardsmen that have said that this has been the most impactful mission in their guard career," said Bornemeier.

They are excited to be on the front lines helping the governor ramp up the delivery of vaccines. It's an important mission because of the spike in demand.

"We've seen a huge, huge demand – websites going down because so many people want to get the vaccine," said Capt. Jeremy Metzger.

He helped put together multiple strike teams that can mobilize throughout the state to deliver vaccinations and antibody infusions.

"If a county needs us, we can mobilize our people in a matter of hours, and get down there and vaccinate people all day," Metzger said.

Their team gave more than 1,400 vaccinations Thursday in Utah County. They are also giving antibody infusions to patients in long-term care facilities. When a patient tests positive for COVID-19, they have a seven-day window to administer the IV treatment.

"It gives the patient the ability to fight COVID-19 better," said Bornemeier. "So it gives them those antibodies that they are needing to get well faster."

Guardsmen are also still helping with mobile COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, managing personal protective equipment and other support missions to assist the Utah Department of Health.

"It's incredible to be able to give back to our community," said Metzger. "That's what we do. We are the Utah National Guard. This is our state and our citizens, and our friends and our neighbors."

Right now, approximately 350 members of the guard are assisting with the COVID-19 response in Utah. But these airmen anticipate more will be called upon in the weeks ahead.

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox called members of the Utah National Guard home from Washington, D.C. after they were deployed to help with security during President Joe Biden's inauguration.

Those soldiers will now help with vaccinations in Utah, Cox said.


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