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Feb 9 2021

Coronavirus response: The Strategic Airlift Capability delivers COVID-19 vaccines to US contingent in Romania

LUXEMBOURG - On 6 February 2021, the Strategic Airlift Capability (SAC) delivered a batch of COVID-19 vaccines to a US Air Force contingent deployed at Campia Turzii Air Base in Romania.

The vials arrived at Pápa Air Base, Hungary, from the United States and were securely transported to Romania in one of the C-17 aircraft of the SAC fleet. "We took one of our aircraft to Campia Turzii, where some US airmen are deployed from the 31st Fighter Wing. That wing supports the US personnel here at the Heavy Airlift Wing. They have no ability to cold-store the vaccine, so we offered to fly out there with our medical team and vaccinate approximately 50 people who are there", explained USAF Colonel James Sparrow, Commander of the Heavy Airlift Wing (HAW) during an interview.

Fifty-five US military personnel received a first dose of the vaccine on Saturday. The shots were administered by the HAW Flight Surgeon USAF Major Bradley Harr M.D. and his medical team. Second doses will be administered in the upcoming days.

"It was quite complicated to get all the logistics to it. It took several days to get there, as we needed to go to Germany to get boxes and supplies to ship and it also required shipments from the United States to come to Pápa, Hungary. The HAW team went down to Romania and offered logistical and transportation support. Our medical team was the provider for the vaccination effort", explained Major Bradley Harr.

The SAC team delivered and administrated the COVID vaccines to over 50 US aircrew members.

The SAC has played a key role helping NATO Allies deliver medical equipment and supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since March 2020, over 215 tonnes of urgently needed supplies have been transported using this capability. This new mission in support of the United States demonstrates the importance of strategic airlift capabilities under urgent requirements.

Under the SAC programme, ten NATO Allies and two partner countries jointly own and operate three Boeing C-17 heavy cargo aircraft, sharing flying hours and costs. The NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) manages the three C-17 aircraft stationed at Pápa Airbase, including acquisition and sustainment activities.

Story by NATO Support and Procurement Agency

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