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Commander, Naval Surface Forces Atlantic

San Antonio, Carter Hall Receive COVID-19 Vaccine Pierside

by U.S. 2nd Fleet Public Affairs
15 January 2021
Command Master Chief Todd Mangin, command master chief for Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG 2), receives the COVID-19 vaccination aboard the amphibious transport dock ship USS San Antonio (LPD 17), Jan. 11, 2021.
SLIDESHOW | 5 images | San Antonio, Carter Hall Receive COVID-19 Vaccine Pierside NAVAL STATION NORFOLK, Virginia (Jan. 11, 2021) Command Master Chief Todd Mangin, command master chief for Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG 2), receives the COVID-19 vaccination aboard the amphibious transport dock ship USS San Antonio (LPD 17), Jan. 11, 2021. The vaccine is crucial in the fight against COVID-19 and is essential to protecting Sailors, their shipmates, families, and the nation they defend. (U.S. Navy photo by Yeoman 3rd Class Brooke A. King)
Sailors and Marines aboard the amphibious transport dock ship USS San Antonio (LPD 17) received their first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine Jan. 11 while pierside at Naval Station Norfolk, marking the first time a large group of personnel received vaccines outside of a Military Treatment Facility (MTF) and aboard an East Coast Navy ship.

As military units scheduled to soon deploy, the crews of the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group (IWO ARG), including the amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7), San Antonio, and dock landing ship USS Carter Hall (LSD 50) as well as Marines assigned to the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) received notification of their eligibility to receive the vaccination, on a voluntary basis. Service members from San Antonio and Carter Hall who had opted-in to receive the vaccine, were vaccinated.

“It was important for me to get the COVID-19 shot to ensure not only the safety of my shipmates, but to ensure the safety of the whole Navy in general,” said Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Anthony Cline, a San Antonio Sailor who received the vaccine. “To add that extra layer of defense to myself and my family back home.”

The Naval Surface Force Atlantic medical team planned and executed this evolution, to include safe transport of the vaccine to the ship. This team additionally augmented San Antonio’s assigned medical department to administer the vaccine, and will return later this month to administer the vaccine’s second dose.

Rear Adm. Brad Cooper, commander, Naval Surface Force Atlantic and Rear Adm. Robert Katz, commander, Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 2, also visited the ship to speak with the crews and to receive vaccines as well.

“I’m grateful to the medical community, which came together to put shots in arms of these amphib Sailors,” said Katz. “The San Antonio-class ships have a robust medical capability, and the Naval Surface Force Atlantic team planned and executed in the medical spaces flawlessly. I got my first dose today, I’ll get my second in a few weeks, and I’d encourage everyone to read the literature in order to make an informed choice when your opportunity to get the vaccine comes around.”

MTFs recently began offering and administering two versions of the COVID-19 vaccine, which received emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on a voluntary basis to service members according to the Department of Defense population schema.

“In the spirit of One Navy Medicine, we are working closely with local MTFs to consolidate resources, gain efficiencies and expedite immunizing the Fleet,” said Capt. Kevin Brown, U.S. Fleet Forces Command surgeon. “There are many challenges with the storage and handling of the COVID vaccine. The pilot on San Antonio was a great example of how teamwork between our Fleet units and the hospital allow us to work through these challenges and achieve the desired end state of protecting Sailors from COVID. We’re looking forward to expanding this initiative to more units across the fleet.”

Although the access to these vaccines will become more widely available in the future, COVID-19 mitigation measures such as facemasks, physical distancing, frequent hand washing, and staying home when feeling ill are still effective ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Individuals who are vaccinated must still follow all of the health protection measures that the Navy has implemented.

Personnel are highly encouraged to take the vaccine to protect their health, their families, their community, and lower the public health risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. The vaccine helps move the Navy one step closer to unencumbered operations at sea, in port, and on liberty.
 
 
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