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The New York Army National Guard will be the first military branch to receive the COVID-19 Vaccine as part of the Department of Defense COVID-19 vaccine distribution pilot program. 

Once the vaccine makes it to National Guard Medical Command in Watervliet, New York, it will be sent out to army and air National Guard personnel across the state.

“The senior staff at the Watervliet Arsenal, the site of our Medical Command, are preparing the plan to receive the vaccine and of course the distribution will go to our army and air National Guard personnel from across the state,” says Col. Richard Goldenberg, Public Affairs Officer for the New York National Guard.

A total of 975 National Guard members will be vaccinated, reported News 10 ABC.

“We are part of that early test bed to process of the receipt, distribution, and administration of the vaccine so when the wider roll-out comes across the entire Department of Defense, we gather valuable lessons learned. This is probably the first step in the end game of the COVID-19 vaccination program,” says Col. Goldenberg.

 “Annually, our members get flu shots. Our medical command based in Watervliet already has a system in place to understand the process of receiving thousands of doses, preparing for a single location site for administration, and processing men and women to go through the line to get their annual flu shot and record it in their medical records,” continued Col. Goldenberg.

The vaccine isn’t mandatory for National Guard members, but it is “highly recommended.”