2017 graduate Andrew Torressen helps lead New Hampshire National Guard effort to coordinate COVID-19 vaccinations

Andrew Torressen, a 2017 Norwich University graduate from Moultonborough, New Hampshire, began the new year exemplifying his alma mater’s service-before-self mission. He joined New Hampshire National Guard units coordinating COVID-19 vaccinations for people at high risk of infection — health care workers, first responders and people working or living in long-term care.

The New Hampshire Guard has coordinated vaccinations at 13 sites statewide, in partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services. In a Jan. 11 Facebook video from Tamworth, New  Hampshire, Torressen described his experience.

“Being in the Guard … you get to serve your community, but here, we’re serving people that we know, that you went to high school with, teachers, my parents’ friends,” Torressen, a U.S. Army 1st lieutenant, who’s been the Tamworth site’s officer in charge, said in the video.

“Being in the Guard … you get to serve your community.”Andrew Torressen ’17, New Hampshire National Guard

As New Hampshire Public Radio reported Jan. 5, doses of Pfizer/BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine arrived in the Granite State in mid-December, followed shortly by Moderna’s version. The Concord-based radio station cited New Hampshire Health and Human Services Department data showing that 71,715 doses were distributed to vaccination sites and 39,222 were administered through Jan. 5.

Officials told the station that officials expected 18,000 more doses weekly.

On its Facebook page, the New Hampshire Guard said it’s averaged 200 vaccinations a day during the first phase of the state’s three-phase plan, completing 1,590 vaccinations through Jan. 10. 

New Hampshire Public Radio said state data showed 39,222 of more than 100,000 people in the first-phase high-risk group had been vaccinated through Jan. 8. State officials have said they hoped to get the full group immunized by Jan. 31.

Directing traffic

On its official webpage, the New Hampshire Guard described how personnel have greeted cars, checked IDs and appointments and sent patients for vaccines. After the shots, the patients have gone to a separate parking area for brief observation. Sgt. 1st Class Jennifer Boisvert, who’s led the New Hampshire National Guard’s vaccine site in Exeter, New Hampshire, told the Concord Monitor newspaper that patients probably spend 20 minutes on site.

new hampshire guard vaccines min
On its Facebook page, the New Hampshire Guard described how its team has greeted cars, checked IDs and appointments and sent patients for vaccines at sites around the state. (New Hampshire National Guard via Facebook.)

In the Tamworth Facebook video,  headlined “End of the Tunnel,” Spc. 1st Class Matthew Fullerton said teammates like Torressen; Concord, New Hampshire, officials; and helpful civilians have energized him.

“This is something that’s never been done before,” said Fullerton, a truck driver for the 744th Forward Support Company. “It’s just awesome to be able to give back to the communities in which we live.”

Torressen said the vaccination push put him at “the breaking point of history.”

He said, “This site is certainly important to this state ... I think nationwide, the vaccine is creating a lot of hope to citizens have been under this COVID cloud for so long.”

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