Tenn. National Guard continues COVID-19 testing and vaccinations

Sgt. Dillon Henderson with Smyrna’s 208th Medical Company prepares to administer the Moderna vaccine at Smyrna’s Volunteer Training Site on Jan. 28. (photo by Sgt. 1st Class Edgar Castro)

NASHVILLE – Since late December, the Tennessee National Guard has been transitioning from primarily supporting COVID-19 testing to supporting vaccine administration throughout Tennessee.

“Helping citizens get vaccinated has been our primary focus since the vaccines have become available,” said Maj. Gen. Jeff Holmes, Tennessee’s Adjutant General. “It’s the next step to helping Tennessee return to normal.” 

Since vaccinations began, the Tennessee National Guard has helped administer over 223,000 vaccinations across Tennessee. They are also continuing to support COVID-19 testing which began on March 23 when Gov. Bill Lee initially requested 250 Soldiers and Airmen of the Tennessee National Guard to assist Tennessee’s response to the pandemic.

Currently, 680 Guardsmen are activated and working alongside the Health Department and local agencies providing support during the ongoing pandemic. Over the last year, more than 1,600 Guardsmen have assisted with COVID-19 testing. 

“We have over 12,000 Soldiers and Airmen across the state and they are all trained and ready to help their fellow Tennesseans whenever called upon,” said Holmes. “Right now, Guardsmen are supporting 126 individual locations in 72 counties.”

In the last 11 months, the Tennessee National Guard has supported testing of nearly 850,000 Tennesseans for COVID-19. Between testing and vaccinations, they have directly assisted more than 1 million Tennessee citizens across the state.

“Our Soldiers and Airmen have displayed an impressive level of mental fortitude and adaptability over the last year,” said Holmes. “From COVID-19 testing, vaccinations, tornado response, civil unrest and winter weather relief, the men and women of the Tennessee National Guard have stepped up and overcome adversity time and time again.”  

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