HomeNewsArticle Display

Medical Minute: Doc Mihata bids farewell

Airman smiling in a doctor's coat.

Medical Minute by U.S. Air Force Col. Ryan Mihata, 86th Medical Group commander, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Regina Burbidge)

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany --

I wish to express my sincere gratitude to the entire community as I write this last Medical Minute.  It has been an absolute honor serving with all of you through this global pandemic.  On 11 August, I will turn the group over to Col Richard McClure.

It is only through the prevention efforts of the entire community that we have made it through nearly 18 months with very few hospitalizations, and even fewer deaths.  However, I am saddened as I reflect on the over 4.1 million people who have lost their lives to COVID and related complications.  Even as Europe is facing a 4th wave due to the Delta variant, I am confident and optimistic that with the vaccine and with 18 months of experience with COVID that we will be as safe in the current wave.  Thanks to you all and what you do to protect yourselves and our population!

Over the past couple months, case count in Germany has slowly but steadily been rising from less than 5/100K to 18/100K.  Kaiserslautern county is at 23/100K and the city is at 27/100K.  In the rest of Europe, (the UK, Spain, Portugal, among others) we have seen very high case counts in the 400-500/100K range.  About 50 percent of our adult cases are in fully vaccinated individuals.  Many of these cases are associated with travel to these high incidence locations. This highlights the “why” prevention measures remain important even if you are vaccinated.  The vaccine decreases (but does not eliminate) your chance for infection; it significantly decreases your chance for severe illness and death.

We continue to have vaccine available for adults – every Thursday and Friday morning Americans with access to the base can get walk-in shots at Building 2116.  To date, Ramstein has administered 28K doses of vaccine to protect our entire population.  On Saturday the 7th, local medical officials will administer shots to German and partner forces and their families at the CTS storage area from 0800 to noon.  Protecting our partners protects us and our mission.  

Thank you again for teaming with us in our fight against COVID-19.  We are all in this together.  Together, we will weather the pandemic.  Please continue good prevention measures.  Wash your hands.  Wear your mask.  Keep your distance.  Get vaccinated.  Again, it has been an honor serving with you.  #VaccinatedAF.  This is Doc Mihata, signing off.