‘We’re on a two-minute timer’: Ohio National Guard members talk about challenges as they prepare to receive and distribute the coronavirus vaccine


COLUMBUS, Ohio (WJW) – At a warehouse in Central Ohio, the Ohio Department of Health has been working with members of the Ohio National Guard to prepare for the arrival and distribution of the coronavirus vaccine.

The Pfizer vaccine will be the first to arrive next week. The shipments will then keep coming as we wait for enough vaccines for Ohio’s residents.

Some Ohio National Guard members shared insight about what challenges they’re seeing as they get ready for the vaccine.

“We’ve been going through and creating the scenarios to replicate as close to real world as we can with the items we have on hand. And we just run through those drills and refine the process until we have something we feel is going to be very successful for the mission,” shared Ohio Air National Guard Senior Master Sgt. Gregory Sprowls.

He’s among 50 Ohio National Guard members working with ODH at the site.

Sprowls says his military training has helped prepare him for the job, and that they’ve had a lot of problem-solving to do during those drills.

“We’ve had many problems that we’ve had to overcome. First being the temperature the product is stored at, the proper PPE to handle that product, the time sensitive nature of ensuring that we get the product back in the temperature within two minutes, the dexterity challenges of trying to handle the small glass vials with the thicker dry ice gloves has been a challenge that we’re also working through.”

“Every time we crack open that case, we’re on a two minute timer,” Sprowls shared.

Troops there know they’re part of a critical mission.

“Everyone has heard about the vaccine coming out. It’s going to come out of this warehouse,” said Ohio Air National Guard Chief Master Sgt. Timothy Merle.

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