Healthcare workers at Naval Medical Center San Diego and Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton were among some of the first to get COVID-19 vaccines. Now, Marines and sailors getting ready to deploy within the next six months are also getting vaccinated.
Captain Bradford Smith, Naval Medical Center San Diego’s commanding officer, said early vaccinations are key in maintaining military readiness.
“We need to have our people protected by giving this vaccine to our active duty forward-deployed service members," Capt. Smith said.
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The Department of Defense remains in Phase One of distribution.
“There is a very prescribed roll out,” said Captain Shelley Perkins, commanding officer of Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton. She is also a surgeon and was part of the first wave of healthcare workers there to get the vaccine.
The coronavirus has been impacting military hospitals much like civilian hospitals. Capt. Perkins said they are taking care of a lot of sick patients, “And it seems like the numbers just keep increasing.”
We know it’s just that extra level of protection that will allow our staff to do the job that they have to do to take care of our patients,” said Capt. Smith.
For operational security the military said it can’t give specific details on the exact number, but we are getting a clearer picture of who is getting the vaccine in addition to healthcare workers at both Naval Medical Center San Diego and Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton.
According to a spokesperson for Navy Medicine, the staff at the Naval Health Research Center are also getting vaccinated, as they handle COVID-19 tests, along with first responders and security personal on bases including federal firefighters.
The VA San Diego Healthcare System said they have vaccination nearly 2,000 people. Most are healthcare workers and about 20 long-term care patients so far.
While there is no word yet on when Phase Two of the rollout will begin through the Department of Defense Capt. Perkins said, “Eventually every Marine on this base and every sailor on this base and every family member will be offered this vaccine and I can’t wait for that day.”