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    Task Force McCoy Continues Medical Support

    Task Force McCoy continues Medical Support

    Photo By Sgt. Ryan Tatum | Capt. Breanna Alis, an emergency room nurse assigned to Task Force McCoy, greets and...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Ryan Tatum 

    Operation Allies Welcome - Operation Allies Refuge   

    FORT MCCOY, Wis., -- Soldiers assigned to the Task Force McCoy medical team are doing their part to help Afghan evacuees meet their immunization and vaccine requirements in order to continue their immigration process at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, as part of Operation Allies Welcome.

    Col. Matthew Fandre, task force surgeon for Task Force McCoy, talked about the goal of the medical team.

    “Our primary purpose here is to take care of our guests and all of their healthcare needs as well as health protection,” said Fandre. “The other main focus is to help with the immigration process through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services; there is a medical examination that includes a brief history and physical, as well as any screening for infectious diseases, lab work and immunizations.”

    The Task Force McCoy medical team screens Afghan evacuees for a gamut of diseases such as COVID-19, measles, chicken pox, polio and others that are not as common in the United States. From there, the medical team gives Afghans their age-appropriate immunizations.

    Lt. Col. Ryan Flanagan, a pediatric cardiologist for Task Force McCoy, talked about the process to get Afghans through the immunization process.

    “It is quite the process, to get people through all of the health evaluations; a big part of it is demographics,” said Flanagan. “As people come through, we need to get them in all of our systems so that we can order labs and medicines. Once the demographics are in, they come to our facility where we have pods set up with both civilian contractors, active duty medical professionals and the providers, who are doctors and nurse practitioners, who then draw labs, screen them for any contra-indications to immunizations and then give the all of the immunizations that they require.

    “We can get about 60 people through the entire process in just over an hour,” said Flanagan. “We follow people through from start to finish; from off the bus to on the bus is about an hour/ hour and a half.”

    Sgt. Elexaus Feagin, a pharmacy technician for Task Force McCoy, talked about the vaccines given to Afghans and how she overcame an initial immunization staffing shortage.

    “We have about 13 immunizations to include tetanus, measles, mumps, rubella, COVID-19 and influenza vaccine; we reconstitute and draw it in a sterile environment for the nurses to give to the Afghan guests,” said Feagin. “I had to take Soldiers from different medical sections and teach them how to reconstitute in a sterile environment, ensure proper dosage for the patients; the Soldiers learned and we overcame.”

    Flanagan reflected on his time as a pediatrician and talked about the temperament of the Afghan children getting immunizations.

    “To have the Afghan children come through as a pediatrician, you give them a lollipop, they smile and the kids are great,” said Flanagan. “They really are tough; as someone who has been sticking children with needles for a long time, these kids are great.”

    Spc. Elizabeth Vega, a behavioral health specialist for Task Force McCoy, came to help in any way she could.

    “Just because I am a behavioral health specialist, it does not mean that I’m always here for the mental health aspect of it,” said Vega. “I’m doing administration work, writing down papers, giving immunizations … they have us everywhere. We are taught a lot of things working in this facility.”

    There are many Army medical professionals that make up the Task Force McCoy medical team, such as phlebotomists, lab technicians, nurses, doctors, and contractors. All of them are working together to make this effort happen, while at the same time looking forward to what the future holds for the Afghan evacuees.

    “Knowing that I made a difference in somebody else’s life, our guests came from nothing and I actually get the opportunity to help them become somebody,” said Vega. “It is a beautiful feeling, I am really blessed to be here, I’m honored to be here and I love it.”

    Feagin echoes that sentiment as well.

    “I want some day in the future, somebody say ‘hey, I was at Fort McCoy and I went through this whole visa process,’” said Feagin. “I want to be able to say to them I was there too and ask them how and where they have been. I can’t wait for that to happen because I know it is going to happen one time in the future and I am excited to see how that progression is going to be.”



    Date Taken: 09.17.2021
    Date Posted: 09.17.2021 11:01
    Story ID: 405484
    Location: FORT MCCOY, WI, US 
    Hometown: DALLAS, TX, US
    Hometown: DELRAY BEACH, FL, US
    Hometown: KNOXVILLE, TN, US
    Hometown: LAS VEGAS, NV, US
    Hometown: LUBBOCK, TX, US
    Hometown: QUEENS, NY, US
    Hometown: ROCKFORD, IL, US
    Hometown: SOUTHERN PINES, NC, US

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