The 42nd Medical Group medical logistics flight has played a key role in the distribution of COVID-19 vaccine since the arrival of the vaccine Jan. 15, 2020, on Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.
The Medical Logistics Flight is responsible for the receipt and storage of the vaccine, in addition to monitoring and reporting usage. They are also responsible for ordering the vaccine and purchasing consumable supplies, like masks and gloves, to support the point of dispensing, or POD.
“The unique properties of the vaccine itself, as well as the additional tracking and management requirements have brought medical logistics into the fold more than any other vaccine previously,” said Capt. Leslie Hernandez, 42nd MDG medical logistics flight commander. “Logistics orders, stores, releases and reports vaccine utilization, and also monitors and documents temperatures of our ultra-cold freezer.”
The 42nd MDG logistics team has been able to learn additional best-practices from local community partners in order to improve their own procedures. Several members of the medical logistics flight visited Baptist Medical Center South Jan. 7, to observe and learn from operations there.
“The most valuable aspect of the visit to Baptist was understanding we are on the right path,” said Hernandez. “There has been a lot of information disseminated from various levels and agencies, and it can feel like drinking from a fire hose at times. It is helpful to see the process in action at a calm, measured pace.”
Along with learning from local community partners, the medical logistics flight also maintains partnerships with the Defense Health Agency and the Air Force Medical Readiness Agency to discuss the evolving COVID-19 landscape and examine vaccine distribution.
“In many ways this is uncharted territory for us, but it also must be safe,” said Hernandez. “We cannot allow the unique nature of this pandemic to threaten patient safety. That is why all of the meetings and preliminary work are so necessary.”
Although the medical logistics flight is working at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19, they are not alone.
“The entire medical group is committed to getting this right,” said Hernandez. “We know the only way we will get back to normal is to win this moment in history.”