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U.S. Navy Accelerates Progress in Providing Vaccinations for Sailors

12 March 2021

From Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice D.S. Randol

NORFOLK, Va. - An event aiming to increase access to COVID-19 vaccinations to U.S. Navy Sailors took place onboard Naval Station Norfolk, March 11.

The event, organized by Navy leadership, was crafted with the goals of ensuring mission readiness and protecting Sailors. Capt. Laurence J. Kuhn, Force Surgeon, Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic, spearheaded the effort alongside other naval medical personnel, such as the ship’s nurse for USS George Washington (CVN-73), LCDR Denilo Mendoza.

“It’s a fabulous opportunity to extend our clinical coverage and capabilities to provide vaccines to our operational forces,” said Mendoza. “It gets us out there in the forefront to be proactive in making sure that people who need the vaccine to support the mission and our country’s assets are afforded the vaccine and can stay ready to fight tonight.”

The effort aligned with the Navy’s overall prioritization schema, and was completely voluntary. However, many of those who chose to receive the vaccine voiced their hope that with the rising number of vaccinations, individuals who are unsure on whether or not to get it for themselves are encouraged to do so.

“I’m getting the vaccine to show the younger guys that it’s safe and effective.” Chief Warrant Officer 3 William Perez, who got his shot at the event, said. “It excites me to know that there’s a vaccine out there, and that it’s getting safer for all of us here in the Navy and in the world.”

Farther along down the line, the Navy’s goals for presenting vaccination opportunities to its Sailors include the establishment of large venues on local bases that are both convenient to the population and will support large streams of personnel, as well as utilization of mobile vaccination teams that are capable of visiting individual units. Kuhn spoke optimistically about the weeks ahead. 

“With increased vaccines becoming available, we are at a point where we are able to establish high-throughput areas near the Navy waterfront,” said Kuhn.  “With every shot administered, we are turning the tide on the COVID-19 pandemic and doing our part to keep our force healthy and safe." 

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