KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented several challenges over the last year; however, the 403rd Aeromedical Staging Squadron has ensured the Reserve Citizen Airmen of the 403rd Wing are medically ready for the mission.
On Feb. 6 during the wing’s Unit Training Assembly, the 403rd ASTS provided immunizations, optometry services, dental x-rays and exams, lab draws, audiograms, and even in some facets physicals to those Reserve Citizen Airmen in attendance.
“We have continued to provide the normal Individual Medical Readiness services as usual during a UTA, our mission set hasn’t really allowed us to do much virtually,” said Chief Master Sgt. Jessica McBride, 403rd ASTS superintendent. “These are mostly hands-on medical services, and while we have been able to do virtual follow-ups on physicals, some of these still have to be in-person.”
While there have been changes to the way the services are handled, all Airmen have certain medical readiness items that have to be maintained.
McBride also mentioned that it is the Airmen’s responsibility to know their own status, when they are due and that they can find out their status at https://asimsimr.health.mil/imr/myimr.aspx.
“Some items that the members can handle ‘virtually’ include turning in a copy of their civilian dental forms and civilian immunization forms,” she said.
On top of providing normal services, the ASTS was then tasked with dispensing doses of the COVID vaccine that were authorized for the 403rd Wing. Members of the 403rd Wing, both military and civilian, were allowed to volunteer to receive the vaccine, which is based on a tier system that prioritizes personnel at risk of being exposed daily to receive it first.
McBride also said that in order to receive the vaccine an individual cannot get another immunization within 14 days of the vaccine.
“The IMR status comes before volunteering for the vaccine,” said Col. Jeffrey Van Dootingh, 403rd Wing commander, during the pre-UTA meeting. “If they are not already ‘green’ on their IMR and need to receive an immunization that can compromise them receiving the vaccine, then they must take their immunization so that it will ‘green’ them up.”
Why is being ‘green’ so important?
Ultimately being ‘green’ means that a commander knows who is ready to go out the door at any time and most importantly on short notice.
“Being able to deploy when the nation calls is our primary duty,” said Col. Leslie Hadley, 403rd Wing vice commander, “If our Airmen do not meet IMR ‘green’ status, then our ability to accomplish our mission is impacted.”