JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. –
For more than a year now, United States residents have fought COVID-19 head-on by continuously following the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Businesses are operating with new hours and minimal staff to help decrease the spread of COVID-19. Some are completely closed and have been exploring more virtual options. Similar plans are taking place on Joint Base Andrews as various units are coming together and doing everything they can to combat the spread of COVID-19 and keep the community operating at its best.
After a year of uncertainty, the light at the end of the tunnel is finally visible because COVID-19 vaccines are making their way across the United States, including JBA. All hands are on deck as medical staff and volunteers work to administer COVID-19 vaccine doses to service members and dependents.
While base personnel are being vaccinated, it is vital that everyone continues to abide by the CDC guidelines, more now than ever, so that every family has a fighting chance to return to normalcy.
One Andrews community member who is contributing to the COVID-19 vaccination process can attest to this. Tech. Sgt. Ryan Dancz, 316th Operations Support Squadron, NCOIC of COVID Vaccination Operations, and his family have been greatly affected by the pandemic.
Dancz said the military pays for applied behavior analysis therapy, ABA, for his two autistic children. However, the presence of COVID-19 prevents the children from attending.
"Because of ABA, they're so much further than they would ever be and COVID-19 has taken all that away," he said. "No matter how hard I try to get them around other kids, there's a difference between going to a park and trying to socialize by playing tag or something and actually building relationships. They don't get that when they're not in that school-type environment."
Continuing to follow the CDC's guidance is important as the vaccines become available to more people. According to Capt. Ayesha Thompson, the COVID Vaccination Operations OIC, this vaccine "is our defense against the pandemic, this is our way out, this is our way of getting back to normalcy."