HAFB Airmen reflect on their time in New York
HAFB Airmen reflect on their time helping with the New York COVID-19 vaccination effort
Nicole Maxwell, Wochit
Holloman Air Force Base was placed on Health Protection Condition, or HPCON, Level Alpha in March 2022. The HPCON level reflects the limited COVID-19 community transmission present on the base among personnel.
It is unknown exactly how many Holloman Airmen, contractors and their families have been affected by COVID-19. The Air Force places that information in the bubble of national security. It is also unknown how many military servicemen and servicewomen stationed at the base filed for vaccination exemptions since the military mandated coronavirus vaccinations for personnel.
“In order to protect operational security as we preserve the nation’s combat readiness, the Air Force will only provide total numbers of service members with COVID-19 at the service level,” Holloman Air Force Base spokeswoman Denise Ottaviano said. “Information about COVID-19 cases, exemptions or separations at Holloman are not releasable.”
U.S. Air Force COVID-19 published statistics released July 12 show the total COVID-19 cases within the U.S. Air Force are 153,229. Those statistics also reveal 149,812 persons have recovered from the virus while attributing 165 deaths to COVID-19. The data includes active and reserve servicemembers, contractors, civilians and dependents throughout the Air Force.
The U.S. Air Force reported that 97.1% of the entire force are fully vaccinated.
The U.S. Air Force reported that 624 medical exemptions and 817 administrative exemptions were approved across the whole force including active Airmen, Air Force National Guardsmen and Reservists.
As of July 11, there were 2,847 religious accommodation vaccine exemptions requests pending approval with 104 approved and 6,803 not approved within the U.S. Air Force.
Of those accommodations not approved, the Air Force reported 575 pending appeals. The data also showed 31 approved appeals and 3,685 appeals not approved.
The total U.S. Air Force active component including the U.S. Space Force is 326,000 people. There are 105,000 Air National Guardsmen and 66,000 Air Force Reservists. This puts the total number of personnel within the Air Force at 497,000 as of July 2022, according to the Department of the Air Force.
The statistics do not reflect the number, if any, of Air Force personnel who requested retirement or separation due to the Department of Defense COVID-19 vaccination mandate approved in Fall 2021.
In Otero County, the New Mexico Department of Health reports that there have been 14,783 reported COVID-19 cases since March 2020, 13,949 reported recoveries and 2020 deaths attributed to COVID-19 as of Aug. 3.
COVID-19 cases in Otero County have gone up this summer with 13,586 cases reported June 1. In those two months, there have been 1,197 positive COVID-19 cases reported in Otero County.
Is Novavax a new option for the unvaccinated?
On July 20, the U.S. Air Force announced that those who previously did not get vaccinated against COVID-19 due to religious beliefs can opt to use the Novavax vaccine. Novavax uses technology similar to the Hepatitis B vaccine many Airmen have already received, officials said.
“Other vaccines produced with similar technology are the human papillomavirus vaccine and even one of the flu vaccines,” Lt. Col. David Sayers, chief of preventive medicine, Air Force Medical Readiness Agency said in a U.S. Air Force news release.
“The Novavax COVID-19 vaccine uses technology that has been around since the 1980s. Not only do we have effectiveness and safety data from the Novavax clinical trials, but we also have decades of experience with this type of vaccine.”
Novavax has been proved to be 90.4% effective against mild to severe COVID-19 infections.
“Unvaccinated service members must receive the two doses, the primary series, taken at least 21 days apart to be considered fully vaccinated and meet the Department of Defense COVID-19 vaccine requirement,” the U.S. Air Force news release states.
Nicole Maxwell can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at 575-415-6605 or on Twitter at @nicmaxreporter.
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