The U.S. Naval Academy, in partnership with Naval Health Clinic Annapolis, began administering the COVID-19 vaccine to DoD service members, civilian, and contract volunteers assigned to USNA on Thursday, Jan. 14.
Vaccine distribution in the Department of Defense is being conducted in phases, following the DoD population schema which prioritizes protecting our people, maintaining readiness, and supporting the national COVID-19 response. The Naval Academy vaccination team, led by NHCA’s Director of Health Services Dr. Jitu Modi, has leveraged lessons learned from past experience with vaccination evolutions for the Brigade of Midshipmen to expeditiously administer vaccines as they are received.
The Naval Academy has already completed vaccinations for individuals who fall under Phase 1a (healthcare and support personnel, emergency responders, and public health workers). Midshipmen currently fall under DoD’s Phase 2 and will be eligible to receive the vaccination once they are administered to voluntary individuals in Phases 1/1b/1c.
[bctt tweet=”Our number one priority has been safeguarding the health of our entire Naval Academy family during this pandemic and this is another important step toward ensuring we are able to do that while continuing to accomplish the mission of the U.S. Naval Academy. -VADM Sean Buck” username=”eyeonannapolis”]
Every effort will be made to prioritize those who are within the more senior age groups, those with existing conditions, and those who have significant interactions with midshipmen. As with all locations across the country, the ability to proceed is based upon the available vaccination.
“I am thrilled that we are able to start vaccinating members of our faculty and staff,” said Superintendent Vice Adm. Sean Buck. “Our number one priority has been safeguarding the health of our entire Naval Academy family during this pandemic and this is another important step toward ensuring we are able to do that while continuing to accomplish the mission of the U.S. Naval Academy.”
As volunteers are identified, USNA leadership will continue to develop and promulgate a prioritized list for vaccination. The ability to vaccinate will be based on availability which is subject to manufacturing rates and CDC/DoD vaccine allocation. This process can be expected to take several months. Full-scale, unrestricted vaccine availability to Naval personnel, similar to the annual influenza vaccine program, is expected to be accomplished before or by mid-2021.
All Naval Academy personnel will continue to wear appropriate masks, practice physical distancing, wash hands, and follow restriction of movement guidelines as a large portion of the population will need to be vaccinated before COVID-19 risks diminish.