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Pax River Service Members Step Up To Get The COVID-19 Vaccine

NHCPR Photos by Kathy Hieatt

NAVAL AIR STATION PATUXENT RIVER, Md. - Service members from across NAS Patuxent River stepped up this month to receive the COVID-19 vaccine under the new mandate from the Secretary of Defense.

To facilitate mass vaccinations, Naval Health Clinic (NHC) Patuxent River held COVID-19 shot clinics Sept. 8-17. The clinics provided additional appointments, staffing and doses of the Pfizer vaccine to make it quick and easy for service members to meet the requirement. All active duty, reservists and members of the National Guard must be fully vaccinated unless they have a medical or religious exemption. The deadline varies by branch of service and is Nov. 28 for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps.

It took Marine Staff Sgt. Justin Whitley less than 30 minutes to receive his first dose on Sept. 15.

NHCPR Photos by Kathy Hieatt

“That was the easiest military shot I’ve gotten in my career,” said Whitley, a 14-year Marine stationed at NAS Patuxent River. “It was super simple.”

He will need to return after 21 days to receive his second dose and become fully immunized. NHC Patuxent River plans to host additional mass vaccination clinics in early October for those in need of their second shots.

“Our service members are once again answering the call to defend our nation, this time by getting vaccinated against a deadly enemy: COVID-19,” said Capt. David Thomas, commanding officer of Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Command Patuxent River and NHC Patuxent River. “By becoming immunized, they are ensuring that they are ready to execute their mission at home and abroad while protecting themselves, their shipmates, their families and our community.”

The clinic staff’s hard work and command support were central to the success of the shot clinics, said Lt. Peter Howell, NHC Patuxent River’s Medical Home Port department head.

“I’m incredibly proud of our staff, who have been working tirelessly to accomplish this mission,” said Howell. “They are unwavering in their dedication to the health and readiness of our service members.”

He also encouraged Sailors not to wait until the last minute to get vaccinated.

As of Sept. 15, 83% of all active duty Sailors were fully immunized Navywide.

Ongoing appointments for first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are available at NHC Patuxent River on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Wednesdays from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., with a break for lunch. The vaccine is available to anyone age 12 or older. They do not have to be enrolled as a patient at the clinic, but must be an eligible beneficiary.

NHCPR Photos by Kathy Hieatt

Make an appointment today at https://informatics-stage.health.mil/COVAX/?fbclid=IwAR3tXDnkR3umdVZsFp12qzS1kBphzVW8XIGyasWnDCaqRD3rjSi2SRZhkNM.

For additional information about the Navy’s response to COVID-19 and the vaccination mandate, visit https://www.navy.mil/US-Navy-COVID-19-Updates/.

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