Medical staff at RAF Lakenheath receive first Covid-19 jabs

Technical Sgt. Justin Pribble, 48th Medical Group pediatrics/immunology flight chief, administers th

Technical Sgt Justin Pribble, 48th Medical Group pediatrics/immunology flight chief, administers the first COVID-19 vaccine to Capt. Branden Hunsaker, 48th Medical Group emergency physician, at RAF Lakenheath on Tuesday. - Credit: Senior airman Madeline Herzog

Healthcare workers at a Suffolk military base operated by the US Air Force have received their first Covid-19 jabs. 

First vaccinations at RAF Lakenheath took place on Tuesday and the base said the jabs will initially be limited to healthcare workers and first responders of the 48th Medical Group ahead of an expanded distribution phase. 

Captain Branden Hunsaker, 48th Medical Group emergency physician, was the first person to receive the Covid jab at the Suffolk base. 

Col. Jason Camilletti, 48th Fighter Wing commander, said: “The health of our force, families, and communities always remains a top priority. 

“This vaccine is an important part of the way forward as we continue to care for the communities where we live and work.”

Airman 1st Class Connor Sams, 48th Medical Group technician, receives the COVID-19 vaccine at Royal

Airman Connor Sams, 48th Medical Group technician, receives the Covid-19 vaccine at RAF Lakenheath on Tuesday. - Credit: Senior airman Madeline Herzog

Under U.S. Food and Drug Administration emergency use approval, the vaccine is voluntary but recommended by the military.

The base, which houses around 5,500 US Air Force staff, said it was "eager" to play its part in bringing the Covid-19 pandemic to an end. 

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Colonel Thomas Stamp, 48th Medical Group commander, said: "We are excited and honoured to be a part of the rollout of this historic vaccination program.

“We have full confidence in the safety and efficacy of the vaccine and are eager to do our part to bring the COVID-19 pandemic to an end.”

The base added that all US Department of Defense staff will continue to wear appropriate masks, practice social distancing, wash hands, and adhere to host nation restrictions for the safety of their communities. 

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