NEWS | June 28, 2021

Vaccination rates soar for deployed infantry battalion

By 2nd Lt. Nathan Rivard 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Mountain)

The Jericho, Vermont, based 3rd Battalion, 172nd Infantry Regiment (Mountain) surpasses the average COVID-19 vaccination rate while deployed.

The National Guard unit reached a staggering 87 percent COVID-19 vaccination rate throughout the battalion’s deployed Soldiers. Vaccinations started at home station, continued during mobilization, and additional vaccines were received while deployed.

Noting the unit’s maxim, “Ascend to Victory,” it’s easy to understand how the unit was able to accomplish the high vaccination rate.

“It’s our culture. We simply don’t fail. COVID was an obstacle to the success of our mission, and we were determined to negate its effect,” said Lt. Col. Matthew Wignall, the 3-172nd IN (MTN) commander. “Our team had the opportunity to receive COVID vaccinations and there was an overwhelming response from Soldiers to do so.”

The Soldiers’ vaccination rate far exceeded the average throughout the Department of Defense. According to a DoD news article from May 20, DoD health officials stated that 58% of active duty members have received one dose and 44% of DoD personnel are fully vaccinated. As of June 23, more than 3.9 million doses have been administered to DoD personnel.

“We started receiving vaccinations at home station and we began the administration of the COVID-19 vaccination at Camp McGregor, N.M. during mobilization,” said 2nd Lt. Michael Cordiero, the battalion medical officer. “At mobilization, Sgt. 1st Class Bond, our HHC senior medic, took charge of tasking personnel for administrating the vaccine, coordination to receive doses, and preparation of the vaccination area. He did a tremendous job and as the data shows, our Soldiers took advantage of that opportunity.”

The 3-172nd IN (MTN) vaccination rates even exceed those in the Green Mountain State. According to Vermont.gov, as of June 14, 80% of eligible Vermonters have been received as least one does of COVID Vaccination.

“The two main factors to our success in vaccination rates are due to availability of the vaccine and education,” said Cordeiro. “Our medical team can only provide the opportunity for vaccination and education. The dissemination and usage of the education falls on the company commands.”

This knowledge was noticeable passed onto Soldiers who were making the decision to get vaccinated.

“Our Company commanders and battalion surgeon Col. Ricky Kue have done an absolutely phenomenal job of getting information to our Soldiers to allow them the ability to make informed decisions about receiving the COVID vaccine,” said Wignall. “Our partners at Task Force Spartan and the 36th Infantry Division have been extremely supportive to get us the resources needed to vaccinate our Soldiers. Their work allows us to focus on our mission while maintaining a high-level of medical readiness.”