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Nurse Courtney Westfall dons a pair of sterile gloves at Fort Carson’s newly-opened COVID-19 vaccination facility.

Fort Carson recently unveiled its latest weapon in the fight against COVID-19: an on-post vaccination site.

The venue, located at the William “Bill” Reed Special Events Center, will be able to accommodate dozens of people while allowing for social distancing, said Maj. Gen. Matt McFarlane, Fort Carson’s commanding officer.

“It’s a large enough facility that we can handle the numbers that we expect to handle in the coming months,” McFarlane said.

The post received an initial round of vaccines in late December and started administering shots Dec. 22, beginning with health care workers, first responders and other emergency workers, according to Maj. Brad Vass, Fort Carson’s director of public health.

The mountain post is distributing its vaccines according to the Department of Defense’s vaccination plan, which is based on the CDC’s procedure, Vass said. TRICARE beneficiaries and DoD personnel will be inoculated according to the guidelines, which can be found on the Fort Carson website, www.carson.army.mil.

“We want to make sure we get the most possible doses to the largest number of our authorized population,” Vass said.

Vass noted that vaccination is only a part of the post's plan to fight the virus. Social distancing, proper mask wear and conscientious hygiene are every bit as important now as they were when the pandemic started in early 2020, he said.

While vaccine supply has been an issue for inoculation sites across the country, Vass said he and his crew are prepared to handle a large influx of vaccines if necessary.

“When (vaccines) are flowing more freely, we’ll be ready for that,” he said.

McFarlane said that, after nearly a year of trying to contain the highly contagious virus, he and his soldiers are glad to have the resources to fight back.

“We’ve been fighting this virus since March, and trying to contain it,” said McFarlane, who heads the 4th Infantry Division. “Now we have the means to combat it, and eventually snuff it out.”

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