As it is still early in the COVID-19 vaccination program, there is a finite supply of COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccination distribution prioritization within the Department of Defense (DoD) is consistent with data-driven CDC guidance for national prioritization. The Navy remains in the first phase of the vaccine distribution plan.
Receiving the vaccine is voluntary and the initial doses are being offered to healthcare providers, healthcare support personnel as well as emergency services and public safety personnel.
Prioritized Navy personnel are highly encouraged to get the vaccine to protect their health, their families, their community, and lower the public health risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Simply put, I recommend you get the COVID-19 vaccine when it is offered to you," said Rear Adm. Bruce Gillingham, Surgeon General of the Navy. "To do so is to share the trust that CNO and I have that the vaccines are safe and that receiving them is essential to maintaining our readiness and our ability to do the critically important work of the U.S. Navy. Following the extremely stringent requirements and clinical trials required by the Food and Drug Administration and cutting no corners in the approval process, we now have the essential weapons to defeat this relentless virus.”
Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Russell Smith recently noted after getting the vaccine, “This vaccine protects not just ourselves, but our family, friends and shipmates. COVID-19 is an insidious enemy. I opted in with Admiral Gilday and our Navy Medicine Surgeon General to show that I have confidence in the extensive research and scientific rigor that went into this endeavor.”
As manufacturers continue to produce vaccine and the CDC allocates additional doses to the Department of Defense, the number of individuals offered the vaccine will grow. The DoD expects to move into an “Expanded Distribution” phase during which will offer vaccines to additional essential workers and critical national capabilities and personnel preparing to deploy, as well as high-risk populations will be eligible to receive the vaccine.
The timeline for further expansion into a “Saturation” phase in which healthy populations will be eligible for the vaccine will be dependent on the volume of vaccine manufacturers can produce and the allotments available to the DoD and subsequently the Navy.
DoD expects to continue to distribute and administer vaccines through this phased approach until 60% of DoD’s 11.1 million personnel have received the vaccine, at which time DoD anticipates vaccine manufacturing rates to support full-scale, unrestricted vaccine distribution and administration to Department personnel in the same way the Department conducts its annual influenza vaccine program.
There is a lot of information out there and it can sometimes be difficult to sort through it all. Links below are provided to help reach specific information for those interested.
DOD Vaccination Plan and Population Schema: https://media.defense.gov/2020/Dec/09/2002548827/-1/-1/0/DOD-COVID-19-VACCINE-DISTRIBUTION-PLAN-AND-POPULATION-SCHEMA.PDF
Department of Defense Statement on COVID-19 Distribution Plan: https://www.defense.gov/Newsroom/Releases/Release/Article/2460496/department-of-defense-statement-on-covid-19-distribution-plan/
FDA COVID-19 Vaccine Page: https://www.fda.gov/emergency-preparedness-and-response/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19/covid-19-vaccines
CDC COVID-19 Vaccine Page: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/index.html
Pfizer-BioNTech COVID 19 Vaccine Fact Sheet for Recipients and Caregivers: https://www.fda.gov/media/144414/download
Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Fact Sheet for Recipients and Caregivers: https://www.fda.gov/media/144638/download
CDC Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 Vaccination: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/faq.html
Subject specific information for the media
Events or announcements of note for the media
Official Navy statements
Given by Navy leadership
HASC, SASC and Congressional testimony