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Fort McCoy working to address language barriers during mass vaccination process

Operations Allies Welcome provides transportation, temporary housing, medical screening and general support for at least 50,000 Afghan refugees
Afghan refugees at Fort McCoy received medical vaccinations this week as part of a multi-day...
Afghan refugees at Fort McCoy received medical vaccinations this week as part of a multi-day clinic at the installation.(Fort McCoy)
Published: Sep. 19, 2021 at 1:51 PM CDT
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FORT MCCOY, Wis. (WMTV) - As mass vaccination efforts at Fort McCoy continue, volunteers at the installation are working to address language barriers the refugees and personnel face.

According to Fort McCoy, the mass vaccinations are part of Operations Allies Welcome, an ongoing effort led by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to support vulnerable Afghans.

Spc. Devon Woslum, a human intelligence collector for the 173rd Brigade Engineer Battalion, 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team discussed her role as a linguist in the efforts.

“I am proficient in Dari, which about half of the Afghan population speaks, so I’m here to help facilitate vaccinations between the providers and our guests,” Spc. Woslum said. “A lot of the things that we help facilitate is explaining what vaccines they’re getting, what kinds of side effects they might experience and then how long they have to wait and where they’re waiting.”

Operations Allies Welcome provides transportation, temporary housing, medical screening and general support for at least 50,000 Afghan refugees.

“It makes me happy because any time I talk to a guest, they always seem surprised and it puts a smile on their face to know that some of the soldiers also speak their language. It’s been a really really tough and different situation for them.”

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