By By Master Sgt. Jeff Lowry
Indiana National Guard
Starting today, nearly 100,000 Defense Department family members and dependents who are enrolled in the military health care program called TRICARE qualify to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine from the Indiana National Guard.
The Indiana National Guard will continue to vaccinate service members and now family members and dependents who are enrolled in TRICARE at the Johnson County Armory in Franklin, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 8 a.m. to noon, but times may adjust as demand dictates. Throughout the Hoosier state, the Indiana National Guard could vaccinate approximately 98,000 people, and nearly a third of those live within 40 miles of the armory.
Eligible personnel, their family members and dependents, age 16 and older, may now schedule an appointment for vaccination through the National Guard program at https://www.in.gov/ago/contact/schedule-covid-19-vaccination-appointment/, calling the Indiana National Guard COVID-19 Vaccine Call Center at 317-247-3226, or emailing email@example.com.
"Our Indiana National Guard healthcare providers remain committed to providing our DoD allotment of COVID-19 vaccine to all service members and eligible DoD beneficiaries in the shortest time possible to protect them from coronavirus disease," said 1st Sgt. Ryan Richmond, the Indiana National Guard's medical branch noncommissioned officer in charge. "Our expansion into these populations facilitates our collective response efforts."
The Defense Department allotment of vaccine to the Indiana National Guard is in addition to the weekly vaccination allocation the Indiana Department of Health receives.
“Our capacity for vaccination continues to be high," said Richmond of the Guard's ability to adjust and adapt to demand.
“Protecting the families and the homes of our service members and the eligible DoD population allows our agency to continue to respond to the global pandemic and ensures our ability to answer the call when called upon in the future,” said Richmond.
Throughout the pandemic Indiana Guardsmen stepped up to assist with tasks such as protective gear distribution, testing Hoosiers for the coronavirus, foodbank operations, long-term care facility operations and Department of Correction facility operations.
“We stand ready to support our community in every way necessary during emergency responses like this,” said Indiana National Guard Adjutant General, Brig. Gen. Lyles, in March 2020. “Our troops are trained to support local agencies and aid in easing Hoosiers’ minds during their time of need.”
The Indiana National Guard started vaccinating its troops, on a voluntary basis for military service members, in December, and expanded to civilian Hoosiers in January.