Mississippi National Guard honored for COVID-19 vaccination mission


JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Members of the Mississippi National Guard were honored for their work helping with the COVID-19 response in the state. For nearly 16 months, National Guard members hosted COVID-19 testing and vaccinations sites and distributed personal protection equipment (PPE).

On Friday, Governor Tate Reeves and leaders with the Mississippi State Health Department (MSDH) attended an awards ceremony in Jackson to thank nearly 200 soldiers.

“It warms my heart that they have done what they’ve done, and they made a huge difference. And at the end of the day, they’ve saved lives. They’ve saved a lot of lives because we were able to get shots in arms very very quickly,” said Reeves.

Lt. Colonel Jeremy Parker said starting with testing sites helped when it came to the logistics of vaccination sites.

“We had to identify vaccinators and go through some changes, and go through some changes, but the basic process was already there, so that’s why we were able to shift so quickly,” he explained.

Service members said being recognized was an honor.

“Any time for me personally or for any soldier that you get recognized for your hard work, is always a good feeling and a morale boost to continue the good fight and continue doing what you’re doing,” said Lt. Joel Baldwin.

Health officials said even though the National Guard’s COVID mission is over, it’s still important for Mississippians to get vaccinated.

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