News from M2CC
DECEMBER 2021 EDITION
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Rapidly in U.S., Could
Bring Punishing Wave of
Infections , CDC Warns
Top federal health officials warned in a briefing
Tuesday morning that the omicron variant is
rapidly spreading in the United States and could
peak in a massive wave of infections as soon as
January, according to new modeling from the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The prevalence of omicron jumped sevenfold
in a single week, CDC modeling shows, and
at such a pace, the highly mutated variant of
the coronavirus could ratchet up pressure on a
health system already strained in many places as
the delta variant continues its own late-autumn
The briefing detailed two scenarios for how the
omicron variant, first identified in South Africa
three weeks ago, may spread through this country.
The worst case scenario has spooked top health
officials, who fear a fresh wave, layered on top of
delta and influenza cases in what one described
as “a triple whammy,” could overwhelm health
systems and devastate communities, particularly
those with low vaccination rates.
“I’m a lot more alarmed. I’m worried,” said
Marcus Plescia, chief medical officer for the
Association of State and Territorial Health
officials, who participated in the call. The CDC,
normally cautious in its messaging, told the
public health officials that “we got to get people
ready for this,” he said.
He noted that the omicron surge, if it materializes
as forecast, would be taking place as delta
continues its onslaught and during the time of
year when influenza cases often peak.
Officials stress that early data shows individuals
who are fully vaccinated and received a booster
shot remain largely protected against severe
illness and death from omicron. But they worry
about how few Americans have been boosted to
date. Over 54 million people in the United States
have gotten the additional shots, out of 200
million who are “fully vaccinated,” according to
The newest modeling scenarios have been
shared among senior administration officials, as
they discuss politically fraught decisions about
how, when and whether to take new steps to
suppress the virus and keep hospitals from being
The second scenario outlines a smaller omicron
surge in the spring. It’s unclear which scenario
is more likely.
“They’re considering the information at the
highest levels right now, and thinking through
how to get the public to understand what the
scenarios mean,” said one federal health official
familiar with the briefing. “It looks daunting.”
“The implications of a big wave in January that
could swamp hospitals . . . we need to take that
potential seriously,” said the official, who spoke
on the condition of anonymity because they were
not authorized to discuss policy deliberations.
The CDC’s internal modeling is consistent with
that of several academic groups in the United
States and with data from the United Kingdom,
Denmark and Norway. New restrictions have
already been imposed in the United Kingdom and
other countries in Europe that were seeded with
The Biden administration’s strategy relies
heavily on vaccination, including boosters and
testing. When President Joe Biden announced his
“action plan” on Dec. 2 for fighting the virus this
winter, he noted “it doesn’t include shutdowns
or lockdowns but widespread vaccinations and
boosters and testing and a lot more.”
A reformulated vaccine that’s omicron-specific
is not currently planned as part of the toolbox.
Senior administration health officials and
vaccine experts at vaccine companies said there
is no evidence such a major switch in the vaccine
design is necessary.
They cited the data that suggests the original
vaccine, coupled with a booster shot, provides
protection against severe illness caused by
omicron. So far, they noted, the vaccines have
successfully countered every variant. That view
could change in the next two weeks as more
data comes in involving laboratory tests and the
spread of omicron.
Switching the vaccine has sweeping implications.
If it is changed too early, that limits the ability
to deal with another variant down the road - one
that might potentially be more dangerous than
“We have to be careful not to repeat mistakes of
the past,” said one administration official who
spoke on the condition of anonymity because
he was not authorized to talk about the issue.
“If there is a change needed, we want to make
it, but we don’t want to end up making a change
if we don’t really need it. It costs time, money
Experts say that it’s impossible to keep changing
the vaccines or giving different boosters because
there is not enough manufacturing capacity and
Anthony S. Fauci, Biden’s chief medical
adviser on the coronavirus response, said in an
interview Monday “there isn’t any compelling
reason right now to drop everything and make
an omicron-specific vaccine, as opposed to
continue to administer vaccine for people who
are unvaccinated and boosting people who are
Speaking Tuesday in an interview on NBC’s
“Today” Show, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky
said of omicron, “It is more transmissible, and
we’re seeing that in other countries as well, that
it’s rapidly becoming the more predominant
strain, but I want to emphasize that we have the
Between Dec. 4 and Dec. 11, omicron likely
jumped from a mere 0.4 percent of new infections
in the U.S. to 2.9 percent, according to the new
CDC data. In New York and New Jersey, omicron
already accounts for 13 percent of new cases,
In the Houston Methodist hospital system,
omicron accounted for 13 percent of new cases in
a four-day period leading up to Dec. 8, according
to James Musser, chair of pathology and genomic
medicine. He expects that percentage to approach
20 percent when new numbers are published
Wednesday. The omicron variant was first
detected in Houston on Nov. 29.
Musser said his hospital system is ready for
whatever comes next: “We’ve had 21 months
of this now, and we’re sort of - I hate to say it,
because it’s tragic - but we’re sort of skilled in the
art of how to handle this.”
Though the delta variant remains dominant in
the United States, and is the driver of the recent
surge in hospitalizations, particularly in the
Upper Midwest and Mountain West, omicron
continues to show signs that it is dramatically
more transmissible. Importantly, it has dozens
of mutations that make it a more slippery foe
when encountered by neutralizing antibodies, the
immune system’s first line of defense.
That was reinforced Tuesday with the release
of a large study from researchers in South
Africa, the country that first warned the world
of the emergence of the new variant in late
November. The new study confirms that vaccines
are significantly less effective at preventing
infections with omicron, but still usually prevent
The study also found that the people infected
with omicron so far have had a 29 percent lower
chance of being hospitalized than people infected
Infectious-disease experts caution that what
happens in South Africa, which has a relatively
young population, may not be repeated in northern
hemisphere countries with older populations.
The CDC modelers also based their forecasts in
part on data coming out of Denmark, Norway and
the United Kingdom, Plescia said. Looking at the
Norway data, the modelers said Norway cases
could reach 300,000 quickly, “and there’s not that
many people in Norway,” he added.
Public health officials think there is adequate
supply of personal protective equipment in the
United States to protect against another wave.
But the country is not ready with sufficient
testing capability, Plescia said. States will need
to work with their hospital systems to get them
ready to expand capacity, he said.
“The hope is that it is going to be less severe,
but the concern is that the numbers could be so
great, even if proportionally less people have to
be hospitalized, the numbers are much higher
and a lot of people are going to be really sick and
overwhelm things,” Plescia said.
The messaging to the public will be even more
difficult. Two things that would help enormously -
less travel during Christmas, and more consistent
wearing of masks - are not likely to happen,
because people are so tired of the pandemic and
have tuned out many public health messages, he
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Focus on Oversight a Key for Success at
In the corrections industry, maintaining high standards of
operation is imperative to meeting the needs of the individuals
in our care. That's why CoreCivic adheres to a stringent set of
guidelines set forth by our own standards, as well as those of our
government partners and the American Correctional Association
Founded in 1870, the ACA is considered the national benchmark
for the effective operation of correctional systems throughout
the United States. To become accredited, a facility must achieve
compliance with ACA mandatory standards and a minimum of
90 percent non-mandatory standards. CoreCivic facilities adhere
to ACA standards, and in 2020, CoreCivic earned an average
ACA audit score of 99.6 percent across all facilities.
Key ACA audit areas include facility personnel, resident reentry
programs, resident safety, health care, and more.
holds our facilities and staff to a high standard. To be able to
represent our facility and receive reaccreditation in person is an
Adhering to ACA standards is only one part of CoreCivic's
commitment to robust oversight. When government partners
utilize CoreCivic's services, we are held not only to our own
high standards and those of the ACA, but we are often held to
the same or higher accountability of our public counterparts
through stringent government contracts, unfettered access to
our facilities for our partners, and hundreds of on-site quality
We provide access to our government partners, with most of
our facilities having government agency employees known as
contract monitors who are physically on-site to ensure we are
operating in line with partner guidelines.
Recently, the ACA held in Nashville, Tennessee, its 151st
Congress of Corrections, an annual convention that brings
together corrections professionals from across the country. In
addition to various workshops and events at the convention, the
ACA Commission on Accreditation also held panel hearings to
award accreditation to correctional facilities that meet the ACA's
rigorous requirements. Listed below are the seven CoreCivic
facilities that earned reaccreditation this year, with mandatory/
• Bent County Correctional Facility - 100/99.0
• Citrus County Detention Facility - 100/100
• Eloy Detention Center - 100/100
• Lake Erie Correctional Institution - 100/99.3
• Saguaro Correctional Center - 100/99.8
• Stewart Detention Center - 100/100
• Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility - 100/100
"The accreditation process is very important," said Warden
Fred Figueroa from Eloy Detention Center, one of the seven
CoreCivic facilities that was awarded reaccreditation. "ACA
To maintain our own high standards, annual on-site audits covering
all operational areas are administered to ensure compliance with
contractual and regulatory obligations and corporate-mandated
requirements. Each CoreCivic Safety facility is audited by our
internal quality assurance division, which is independent from
our operations division. Facilities are expected to be audit-ready
year-round, maintaining continuous compliance with numerous
CoreCivic employs 75 staff members dedicated to quality
assurance, including several subject matter experts with extensive
experience from all major disciplines within our institutional
"A lot of hard work goes into preparing for these audits,"
Figueroa said. "Once they're complete, the staff can see their
accomplishments and feel proud."
Having multiple levels of oversight helps CoreCivic maintain
a safe environment for those in our care. By holding ourselves
accountable to our own high standards, along with our
government partners' and ACA's standards, CoreCivic continues
to be a trusted partner working to better the public good.
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Fired After Refusing to
Get COVID Vaccine
WASHINGTON (AP) — A Navy commander has been fired
from his job as the executive officer of a warship because he
refused to get a COVID-19 vaccine as required and refused to be
tested for the virus, Navy officials said Friday.
Cmdr. Lucian Kins was relieved of his duties Friday as second in
command of the USS Winston Churchill, a destroyer, by Navy
Capt. Ken Anderson, commander of Naval Surface Squadron
14. Officials said Kins was the first naval officer to be fired as a
result of a vaccine refusal.
Navy spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Jason Fischer declined to give
the precise reason why Kins was relieved of command, citing
privacy concerns. Fischer, who is spokesman for the Naval
Surface Force Atlantic, said the reason for the firing was that
Anderson lost confidence in Kins' ability to perform his duties
after he failed to obey a lawful order.
Other officials, however, said it was because Kins refused the
order to get the vaccine, and refused testing to ensure he did not
have the virus.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss
personnel issues. One official said Kins has requested a religious
exemption, which was denied. Kins is appealing that denial.
The Pentagon has made the vaccine mandatory for all service
members, and Navy personnel had until late November to
get their shots or request exemptions. Thousands of service
members have asked for religious exemptions, but so far none
of the military services have approved one.
Fischer said Kins has been reassigned to the staff of Naval
Surface Squadron 14.
Lt. Cmdr. Han Yi, the ship's plans and tactics officer, is
temporarily serving as the Churchill's executive officer until a
permanent replacement is identified.
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The US Just Ended
Combat in Iraq, but
Thousands of Troops
Will Stay Put for Now
The U.S. military ended its
combat operations in Iraq
this week under terms from
an earlier agreement, though
thousands of troops will
remain in the country for now,
the Pentagon said Thursday.
About 2,500 service members
are in Iraq after months of
winding down the mission
against the Islamic State group;
they will continue advising
and training Iraqi security
forces after the transition was
completed this week. The
change was finalized at the
conclusion of technical talks
between the two countries
The move marks a deescalation
of the U.S.-led
coalition's war against the
Islamic State, or ISIS, that
began in 2014 as the terrorist
group swept through Iraq,
staged public executions, and
sponsored attacks around the
This is the natural evolution,"
Pentagon spokesman John
Kirby said, but will not result
in any immediate change to
the laydown and number of
U.S. forces there.
The U.S.-Iraq agreement to
pull all combat troops from the
country by the end of this year
was hammered out in July.
Former Iraqi Prime Minister
Haider al-Abadi declared the
military defeat of ISIS in 2017,
after all territory such as the
city of Mosul was reclaimed
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and the border with Syria was
secured. But an insurgency
waged by the group continued.
The terrorist group has been
dramatically reduced to
underground networks with no
territory, but it once claimed
40,000 soldiers and controlled
110,000 square kilometers,
according to the U.S.-led
"Many brave men and women
gave their lives to ensure
Daesh never returns, and as
we complete our combat role,
we will remain here to advise,
assist, and enable the ISF, at
the invitation of the Republic
of Iraq," Maj. Gen. John W.
Brennan Jr., commander of
Combined Joint Task Force-
Operation Inherent Resolve,
said in a released statement,
referring to ISIS with the term
used by Iraqis.
ISIS "is down, but not out,"
Brennan said in the statement.
It is the second time in a
decade that the U.S. has
pulled back forces amid an
apparent calming in Iraq.
In 2011, President Barack
Obama announced an end to
the earlier Iraq War launched
in 2003 to topple Saddam
Hussein, only to re-enter the
country three years later to
fight the burgeoning terrorist
The main threat now to U.S.
troops remaining in the
country is Shia militia groups
backed by Iran. The groups are
blamed for drone and rocket
attacks on U.S. bases in Iraq
"We have to assume threats to
U.S. forces remain credible in
Iraq," Kirby said.
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National Guard Helping Virus-Sapped States,
More U.S. states desperate to
defend against COVID-19 are
calling on the National Guard
and other military personnel
to assist virus-weary medical
staffs at hospitals and other care
People who became sick after
refusing to get vaccinated are
overwhelming hospitals in
certain states, especially in
the Northeast and the Upper
Midwest. New York, meanwhile,
announced a statewide indoor
mask order, effective Monday
and lasting five weeks through
the holiday season.
number of people hospitalized
with COVID-19 has soared
to about 54,000 on average,
according to the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention.
Meanwhile, the country is
approaching a new milestone of
800,000 COVID-19 deaths. More
than 200 million Americans, or
about 60% of the population, are
now fully vaccinated.
In Maine, which hit a pandemic
high this week with nearly 400
COVID-19 patients in hospitals,
as many as 75 members of the
National Guard were being
summoned to try to keep
people out of critical care with
monoclonal antibodies and to
perform other non-clinical tasks.
Maine has one of the highest
COVID-19 vaccination rates in
the country -- 73% -- but that
rate lags in many of the state's
The New York National Guard
said it had deployed 120 Army
medics and Air Force medical
technicians to 12 nursing homes
and long-term care facilities to
relieve fatigued staff.
Dr. Paolo Marciano, chief
medical officer at Beaumont
Hospital in Dearborn, Michigan,
said it was a "tremendous
We're entering a time of
uncertainty, and we could either
plateau here or our cases could
get out of control," Gov. Kathy
Hochul warned Friday.
In Michigan, health director
Elizabeth Hertel was equally
blunt: "I want to be absolutely
clear: You are risking serious
illness, hospitalization and even
death" without a vaccination.
The seven-day rolling average
for daily new cases in the
U.S. rose over the past two
weeks to 117,677 by Thursday,
compared to 84,756 on Nov. 25,
Thanksgiving Day, according to
Johns Hopkins University. The
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lifeline" to get assistance from
the Defense Department, which
has more than 60 nurses, doctors
and respiratory therapists
assigned to the state.
"It allowed us to be able to care
for the COVID patients and at
the same time still maintain the
level of care that cancer patients
require or people with chronic
illnesses," Marciano said.
"Where we are today is really
just keeping our heads above
New York's mask order covers
all indoor public places unless a
business or venue has a vaccine
requirement. The state reported
more than 68,000 positive tests
for the virus in a seven-day period
that ended Wednesday, the most
for any seven-day stretch since
New York City and several
upstate New York counties
already have mask mandates.
Critics, however, said the
governor's announcement was
another burden for businesses.
"Government overreach at
its worst," said Republican
Assemblyman Mike Lawler.
Oklahoma Guard Leader Tells
Vaccine Refusers to Prepare for
'Career Ending Federal Action'
The leadership of the
Oklahoma National Guardhas
acknowledged that its fight with
the federal government over the
COVID-19 vaccine mandate
ultimately may lead to "career
ending federal action" for troops.
Brig. Gen. Thomas Mancino, the
top officer for Oklahoma's Guard,
released a statement Thursday
that opened with a forceful
defense of service members
under his charge exercising
their "personal responsibility"
and "the right to not take the
However, the message quickly
pivoted as Mancino began to
note that his and Republican
Gov. Kevin Stitt's authority is
"Anyone exercising their
personal responsibility and
deciding not to take the vaccine
must realize that the potential
for career ending federal action,
baring [sic] a favorable court
ruling, legislative intervention,
or a change in policy is present,"
Mancino wrote in the statement.
State National Guard formations
are unique in the military in that
Michigan is sending more
ventilators to hospitals and
asking for even more from the
national stockpile. Infection
rates and hospitalizations are at
record levels, 21 months into the
pandemic. The first case of the
omicron variant was confirmed
Thursday in the Grand Rapids
The largest hospital system
in Indiana enlisted National
Guard for support this week
at a time when the number of
COVID-19 patients in the state
has more than doubled in the past
month. The state's COVID-19
hospitalizations are now higher
than Indiana's summer surge that
peaked in September and are
approaching the pandemic peak
reached in late 2020.
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they have dual obligations: to both the state and federal government.
When under their governor's authority, the Guard is said to be operating
under Title 32. However, when deployed by the federal government,
they operate under so-called Title 10 orders and are commanded by
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"The Governor has used his authority under Title 32 to grant you a
limited safe harbor within his authority to not be subject to Title 10
negative actions for not taking the vaccine," Mancino explained.
This distinction -- whom an individual Guard member ultimately
takes orders from and when -- has been the crux of the fight between
Oklahoma and the Pentagon. That fight now includes a lawsuit
launched by Stitt and threats from the Pentagon to withhold pay.
In one of the last paragraphs of his message, Mancino noted that he is
"fully vaccinated, plus the booster."
"I believe the vaccine to be safe and effective against COVID-19
based on the millions of doses administered," he wrote.
In his message, Mancino admitted that, ultimately, "continued service
in the national guard will require connections with Title 10 authority."
"Such connections including training events, schools, and mobilizations
are going to eventually force you out of that safe harbor, and subject
you to title 10 authorities. This is reality," his statement said.
Increasing politicization of the National Guardmeans that Oklahoma
Guardsmen aren't the only troops stuck between state and federal
posturing. A spokesperson for Stitt told Military.com last week that at
least five other Republican governors are considering similar moves.
While Stitt and other governors may be eager to test the limits of
their authority against the Pentagon and the rest of the federal
government, Mancino's message makes it clear the struggle could
have consequences for Guard members.
"It is important you do not mistake my vigorous defense of the
Governor's rights under Title 32 as a guarantee you will not face
consequences from Title 10 authority," Mancino wrote. "I have no
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polyfluoroalkyl substances, collectively
known as PFAS.
"I'm outraged every time I hear the stories
from the service members in my state who
unknowingly raised their families near
PFAS-contaminated bases and had no idea
of the danger," Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Calif.,
said during a hearing Thursday.
The Pentagon's inspector general released
a report in July saying that the DoD
waited five years to reduce the use of
PFAS-containing aqueous film forming
foam used for firefighting in training and
emergencies, even though its Emerging
Chemicals Program issued an alert in 2011
describing PFAS as a concern.
The delay possibly exposed "people and
the environment" to preventable risks, the
DoD IG concluded.
As the result of a bureaucratic loophole,
the DoD was not required to take action
to address the risks highlighted in the alert
until 2016, allowing years to pass while
troops continued to be exposed.
The delay -- and a subsequent focus on
firefighting foams while largely ignoring
other sources -- continued to expose
service members and their families to the
dangerous substances, the report found.
Concern has grown in the past decade over
PFAS, which have been linked to cancer
and birth defects, although research
After Years of
Frustrated by the Defense Department's
pace of identifying installations
contaminated with chemicals used in
firefighting foam as well as industrial and
commercial products, Congress plans to
order the Pentagon to complete the task in
The fiscal 2022 National Defense
Authorization Act, approved by the House
on Tuesday and expected to pass the Senate
next week, requires the DoD to complete
preliminary assessments and site testing at
all bases and National Guardfacilities by
the end of 2023
The deadline is needed, legislators
say, because the timeline and lack of
transparency by the Defense Department
has left communities wondering whether
their water and the ground they occupy
are contaminated with perfluoroalkyl and
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remains insufficient to understand the full
impact of the chemicals on people. They
are known as "forever chemicals" because
they do not break down in the environment
and can build up in the human body.
The compounds are used not only
in firefighting foam but in industrial
lubricants, non-stick cookware, cosmetics,
stain repellents and food wrappers.
The 2020 defense policy bill required
the Defense Department to test the
blood of military and civilian installation
firefighters for PFAS.
The DoD's work, according to Laura
Macaluso, DoD's acting deputy assistant
secretary for force safety and occupational
health, will help expand the body of
scientific knowledge on these substances
and lead to advances in care, if needed.
He added that the Pentagon had planned
to complete the identification and testing
process of all installations by the end of
The Pentagon has banned the use of PFAScontaining
foams for training on military
installations, although the product is still
used on installations during emergencies
and aboard ships.
The DoD has faced challenges finding
an effective PFAS-free firefighting foam,
since none is commercially available
that meets its standards, according to the
The department is currently funding
research to develop a replacement.
"We are hopeful that there will be evidence
connecting particular blood levels of one
or more PFAS to specific adverse health
effects in the next two years, and that
we could expedite this trend analysis,"
Firefighting foams containing PFAS have
been used on military installations since
the early 1970s, with thousands of people
exposed during training and emergencies
and an unknown number possibly exposed
as the result of runoff.
As of Thursday, the DoD had identified
699 active or former military bases and
National Guard facilities where two of
the chemicals, perfluorooctane sulfonate
(PFOS) or perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA),
may have been used or released into the
During the Thursday hearing, Richard
Kidd, the DoD's deputy assistant secretary
for environment and energy resilience,
said 190 of those installations have been
assessed, with 115 needing further review
and possibly remediation.
The other 75 showed no record of any use
of firefighting foam, and "the investigation
process has essentially stopped" for those
facilities, Kidd said.
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booster shot drive
in Europe goes
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — The
slow rollout of COVID-19 vaccine boosters
to the U.S. military community in Europe
has given way to ramped-up efforts to get the
additional jab to everyone who’s eligible as
quickly as possible.
And in many locations, appointments are
being scooped up as soon as they become
In the past week alone, the Army nearly
doubled the number of booster shots
administered at its base clinics on the
Continent, Gino Mattorano, a spokesman
for Regional Health Command Europe, said
At the end of November, the Army had
vaccinated about 4,100 individuals with a
booster, less than 5% of the estimated 100,000
people at Army bases in Europe eligible for
vaccinations. Mattorano estimated that the
total now stands at about 25,000.
Initially, the Army had intended to expand
its booster campaign after the holidays while
it focused on administering the pediatric
vaccine, which was recently approved for
children 5 to 11.
But with Germany and other European
countries that host American troops
experiencing a record surge in cases and high
demand for the booster, the Army reversed
course and opened more appointments.
The Army’s last vaccination clinics before
the holidays will be Monday, Mattorano said.
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Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, the Army’s largest
overseas hospital, has administered about 11,000 boosters
and started partnering with the 21st Theater Sustainment
Command and the 30th Medical Brigade to add booster
vaccine appointments, Mattorano said.
On Monday, Ramstein Air Base opened more booster
appointments Friday for its last scheduled vaccination
clinic before the holidays.
By the end of the day Monday, time slots for all of the
approximately 600 sessions were gone, according to an
online appointment site.
For the four vaccination clinics scheduled at Ramstein in
January, only one time slot on Jan. 7 was still available as
of Tuesday morning.
Ramstein medics have administered about 2,200 booster
vaccines, both Moderna and Pfizer, base spokesman Lt.
Col. Will Powell said in a statement Monday.
“The process remains fluid,” he said. “As cancellations
occur, appointments open up.”
Most bases are using the Defense Health Agency’s
online portal for appointments. It allows people to make
more than one appointment for the same shot. Military
officials said it’s important for users to cancel previous
appointments and not double-book.
However, there is no penalty for neglecting to cancel
previous appointments, and it is permissible to make
multiple appointments simultaneously to accommodate
other family members.
In some German states, including Rheinland-Pfalz, home
to tens of thousands of U.S. personnel, a booster shot
negates vaccinated individuals’ testing requirement for
indoor dining and other activities.
Germany’s new government is looking at applying that
exemption across the nation to encourage more booster
shots and relieve testing capacity.
Booster shots for people ages 16 and 17 are still hard
to get, depending on location. The Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration recently approved boosters for older
LRMC was showing available booster appointments for
ages 16 and up for Jan. 6. Other Army bases were also
offering the booster to older teens, Mattorano said.
Ramstein officials said Monday that they are awaiting
official guidance from the Air Force on when to begin
offering the booster to 16- and 17-year-olds.
At Spangdahlem Air Base in Germany, health officials
“are exploring options” for making booster shots available
to 16- and 17-year-olds, 1st Lt. Megan Morrissey, a
spokeswoman for the 52nd Fighter Wing, said in a
U.S. Navy officials did not respond by deadline about
their efforts to provide booster shots to their personnel
24 | M2CC - News www.m2cc.us DECEMBER 2021 EDITION
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Florida Veteran Runs 26.2
Miles, Bikes 100 Miles and
Raises $12,000 for Vets in
DESTIN, Fla. (Tribune News
Service) — For the second year
in a row, Destin resident and
Army veteran Geoff Speyrer
completed a grueling 24-hour
physical challenge to raise
awareness and money for veteran
about giving back hope to these
men and women who suffered."
Speyrer credits sponsors,
supporters, fellow athletes from
the 1st Phorm community and
runners from the Crop Dusters
and Destin running groups who
joined him with helping make
the event a success.
"This wasn't a me thing," said
Speyrer. "This isn't about me;
we had people coming in from
the Midwest, the East Coast, the
Collectively, all those efforts so
far have raised about $12,000
for Healing Paws for Warriors, a
local veteran-founded nonprofit
that provides trained service dogs
to veterans who are faced with
post-traumatic stress, traumatic
brain injury or military sexual
"We're unable to run this program
unless we get community support
through donations, fundraisers,
etc., so we're very thankful for
this opportunity," said Healing
Paws for Warriors co-founder
"Geoff is an example of a
veteran giving back, pulling the
community together and making
a difference," Hale said.
Despite battling winds that added
about three hours to the bicycle
ride, Speyrer said he was happy
with how this year's challenge
went and plans to make next
year's even bigger.
"This is just the beginning," he
said. "It's just going to get bigger
Want to contribute? The
fundraiser for Healing Paws for
Warriors will continue through
the end of the month. Visit the
Facebook page Geoff's SET 22
fundraiser for Healing Paws for
The event is called SET 22, with
the SET standing for strength,
endurance, and training. Speyrer
said the 22 refers to the number
of veterans who take their lives
Beginning at midnight Friday,
Speyrer and fellow cyclists Sean
Kamm and Kathleen Carrier
made four loops by bike around
Destin and Scenic Highway 98
for a total of 100 miles. About
noon Saturday, he started off on
foot with about a dozen other
runners to make one more loop
around Destin, racking up a
To cap off his day, Speyrer
then took to the track at Destin
Elementary School about 9 p.m.,
where he was joined by 25 to 30
people who cheered him on in the
dark as he flipped a 200-pound
tractor tire around the track
for total of 1 mile. He finished
the challenge about 10:45 p.m.
"People ask, 'Why do you put
yourself through this,' " said
Speyrer. "I know what it's like to
feel like there's no hope. It's all
Creating a Culture
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Women’s Health Care NP
Psychiatric-Mental Health NP
Learn more at frontier.edu/military
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WWW.M2CC.US Monthly Newsletter | 27
28 | M2CC - News www.m2cc.us DECEMBER 2021 EDITION
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