NORFOLK, Va., Jan. 14, 2021 —
Defense Logistics Agency Distribution Norfolk, Virginia’s medical mission team is supporting Operation Warp Speed by delivering Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to overseas Defense Department locations, deployed Navy Fleet units and several locations within the continental U.S.
DDNV is the first DLA distribution center to prepare the vaccines using DLA’s new -20 degrees Celsius packaging solution and the first to prepare the vaccines for an overseas military flight.
“I can’t say enough about the medical mission team at DDNV. They worked late into the evening Jan. 7 to ensure the first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines made the flight out to [Guantanamo Bay Naval Base],” said Navy Capt. Thomas “Tommy” Neville, DDNV commander.
DLA Distribution Susquehanna, Pennsylvania, officials alerted DDNV and U.S. Naval Hospital Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Jan. 6 that the vaccines had been sent FedEx custom critical to DDNV’s initial staging point.
The Norfolk team immediately unloaded the vaccines and packaging material upon their arrival early Jan. 6 and forwarded temperature readings to DLA’s cold chain management team. They then pre-conditioned the gel-pack and shipping material for 24 hours to meet -30 degrees Celsius temperature requirements. After inspection, the team packaged the vaccines, added a secondary temperature-monitoring device and turned the vaccines over to Air Mobility Command terminal staff. The vaccines left Norfolk 4 p.m. Jan. 8 on a military flight bound for Guantanamo Bay.
Naval Hospital GTMO staff followed normal DLA cold chain receiving processes to confirm receipt upon the vaccine’s arrival and emailed temperature verification to the agency’s cold chain management team, making the vaccines available for immediate use.