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5th Fleet Reaches Nearly 13,000 COVID-19 Vaccines Administered

30 March 2021

From Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Daniel Hinton, U.S. 5th Fleet Public Affairs

U.S. 5th Fleet has reached nearly 13,000 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines administered during a fleet-wide effort to protect the force, as of March 28.

The vaccination effort, which began in early January, has resulted in approximately 12,871 doses of the two-shot Moderna and single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccines being administered to military and civilian personnel throughout the 5th Fleet area of operations (AOO).

“The vaccination of our personnel is essential in maintaining a ready force and effectively mitigating the threat posed by the pandemic,” said Capt. Kevin Buckley, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT)/5th Fleet Force Surgeon. “Our successful vaccine distribution, education and administration efforts have required a great deal of hard work and coordination by many different personnel across numerous organizations.”

Doses were initially offered only to those in high-risk categories, first responders and other essential personnel, in accordance with Department of Defense prioritization guidance. The scope has since been expanded to include a broader range of personnel throughout the AOO, stationed ashore and afloat.

The first deployed shipboard personnel within 5th Fleet to receive vaccines were those aboard amphibious transport dock USS San Diego (LPD 22) and guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea (CG 58), shortly after both ships identified positive cases onboard in late February.

“After isolating the positive cases from both ships and providing care for those individuals, the next essential step was to implement additional mitigations, including making the vaccine available to as many crew members as possible so they could get back to supporting the mission,” said LT Nii Adjei Oninku, NAVCENT/5th Fleet Force Health Protection Officer. “Now, we’re able to use the lessons learned from that process to effectively expand our support to afloat units throughout the fleet.”

Of the total number of personnel vaccinated, 3,642 have received their second Moderna dose, and 835 have received their single Johnson & Johnson dose. 5th Fleet.  The Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Unit (NMRTU) Bahrain continue to schedule additional doses for units throughout the AOO as the effort to inoculate the fleet maintains momentum.

“This has been an incredible opportunity to support the health and safety of our military community,” said LT Claire Piccirilli, Naval Branch Health Clinic Bahrain Immunization Nurse. “We remind all our personnel that taking the vaccine is the best way to protect themselves, their shipmates and the mission at hand.”

The Kingdom of Bahrain, host to the 5th Fleet headquarters and an important regional and coalition partner, also has recently offered the Pfizer vaccine to DOD dependents aged 18 years or older, resulting in the administration of 150 doses.

“We are incredibly thankful to our host nation for their support,” said Capt. Shawn McGehee, NAVCENT/5th Fleet Safety Officer. “We continue to keep the press on and are committed to ensuring that all personnel across the fleet remain healthy, ready and resilient in the face of any challenge.”   

The U.S. 5th Fleet AOO encompasses about 2.5 million square miles of water area and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean. The expanse is comprised of 20 countries and includes three critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, the Suez Canal and the Strait of Bab al Mandeb at the southern tip of Yemen.

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