It’s cliché to say at this point, but 2020 really sucked.
Still, the hope for an end to the COVID-19 pandemic is on the horizon with several vaccines on the way to an arm near you.
And in 2021, you’ll likely get the jab, but no one will be voluntelling you to do it.
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday laid out how the fleet will be vaccinated at a Senate hearing in December.
Sailors and civilians working in health care will go first, followed by those sailors manning the ballistic missile subs or engaged in the cyber mission, while units getting ready to deploy will be next up in the coming months.
Gilday expressed confidence that the U.S. Navy and military in general will be able to roll out the vaccine pretty quickly.
“If there’s anything we’re good at, it’s mass immunization of the military,” he told lawmakers.
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Gilday said the Pfizer vaccine will be distributed in the continental United States, while a Moderna vaccine that doesn’t require super-cold storage will be sent to locations overseas.
The Pentagon expects to get 44,000 initial vaccine-doses that will go to 13 U.S. sites and three overseas sites.
A “very, very, very limited” number of the vaccines will go to senior department officials, Lt. Gen. Ronald Place, head of the Defense Health Agency, said earlier this month.
Those senior officials may include Acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller, Deputy Defense Secretary David Norquist, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Army Gen. Mark Milley and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Air Force Gen. John Hyten, according to Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman.
The leaders have been encouraged to get their shots publicly, partly to help show the rank-and-file that the vaccine is safe.
While many injections are mandatory for servicemembers, the COVID-19 vaccines will initially be voluntary.
“Our advice to everyone would be to take the vaccine, just based on risk,” Place said.
About Geoff Ziezulewicz
Geoff is a senior staff reporter for Military Times, focusing on the Navy. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was most recently a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at email@example.com.