NEWS | May 27, 2021

Kentucky Guard Strike Teams support Kentucky Department of Corrections

By Staff Sgt. Lerone Simmons, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs

Covid-19 vaccinations are in full swing in the Commonwealth, and the Kentucky National Guard continues to play a major role in their distribution. 

As part of the state’s COVI9-19 response, detained individuals in the care of the Kentucky Department of Corrections are given the option of being vaccinated. 

“It’s important to understand that there is a need here,” said Angela Kik, a Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) strike team liaison. “Over the last few years our [DPH] clinical staff has decreased, so having the support of National Guard strike teams has allowed us to continue our mission and take care of some of our most vulnerable members of our population.”

Kentucky Guard Mobile Vaccination Strike Teams along with DPH, have traversed the Commonwealth to support vaccination distribution at DOC facilities. 

A strike team is comprised of medical and administrative personnel from the Kentucky Guard who coordinate with DOC facilities to forecast the amount of vaccinations needed, supplies, and necessary administrative paperwork; they also conduct the vaccinations on-site at the facility.

Kik, a nurse, and Army Reserve veteran of eight years, never thought she would work this closely with the military upon her separation. 

“They are always ready to act, and get things done quickly and effectively,” she said. “It’s good to be working this closely with them, I love working with the Guard.”

When it came to administering vaccinations, Kik worked alongside with Sgt. Okoarye Dishman, a medic assigned to strike team two. 

Dishman currently serves as a medic in the Kentucky Medical Detachment full time, when not fulfilling strike team requirements.

“Folks have been thanking us nonstop for coming to administer the vaccine. It’s important for us to let them know that they are not forgotten and we’re willing to do what it takes to get the job done,” he said. “It feels good to know that we are helping our state by working together to get back to normal soon.”

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear recently announced that Kentucky DOC will begin allowing in-person visitors starting next month on June 20. Visitors will be required to be vaccinated, wear masks, follow social distancing protocol, and schedule their visits in advance.