The US Pacific Command (PACOM) has started the COVID-19 vaccination process.
Troops in Korea, Hawaii, and Japan have already received the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. They have received both the Moderna and Pfizer versions of the shot.
Most combatant commands have decided to prioritize troops and civilians working in healthcare for the COVID-19 vaccine, similar to what is happening in the US. PACOM, however, has added submariners to its priority list, an indication of Silent Service’s strategic importance.
PACOM was hit hard by the Coronavirus. In the spring of 2020, the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt went into quarantine in Guam as nearly 1,000 of its sailors had tested positive for the Coronavirus.
Then in November, the destroyer USS Michael Murphy (named after the Medal of Honor recipient and Navy SEAL officer) was also quarantined as almost 100 of its crew contracted COVID-19.
“I strongly encourage all eligible individuals to receive the vaccine,” said General Robert B. ‘Abe’ Abrams, the commander of US Forces Korea Commander, in a press release. “While the Moderna vaccine is completely voluntary under an EUA [Emergency Use Authorization], I want you to make an informed decision for you and your family regarding the vaccine. While we await additional shipments of the vaccine, I ask that our community remains patient and flexible. The COVID-19 vaccine is another tool that will help USFK maintain a robust combined defensive posture and our ‘Fight Tonight’ readiness approach.”
Despite the Covid-19 vaccination effort, protective and mitigation measures such as masks and social distancing are still in place until further notice.
Operation Warp Speed, the government’s overall COVID-19 vaccination effort, aims to produce 300 million vaccines in close to 11,000 locations across the US.
Currently, the COVID-19 vaccine is voluntary. Although servicemembers and Department of Defence civilians aren’t required to get it, they are highly encouraged.
“The nation and the Department of Defense are beginning to administer vaccines for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. These vaccines, which are currently voluntary, are a proven effective measure to better protect you, our Navy and our Nation from this insidious threat,” said Admiral Mike Gilday, the Chief of Naval Operations.
The US European Command (EUCOM) has also started its COVID-19 vaccination effort. You can read more about it here.