By Destiny Sibert
Commander, Navy Installations Command Public Affairs
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Commander, Navy Installations Command’s force protection personnel have largely embraced their early eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine and encouraged their teammates to accept the shot, if they haven’t already.
“I got the vaccine when I had the chance because, plain and simple, I want to protect myself, my family and my co-workers,” shared Master-at-Arms 1st Class Juan Padron, assigned to Naval Air Facility El Centro. “Take the vaccine… The world’s best scientists and medical professionals were tasked with creating it.”
Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Michael Garcia, a patrolman also assigned to NAF El Centro, agreed with his shipmate. “There is enough research by scientists and medical professionals to ensure that the vaccines work. Get your shot when you can and let’s help lift the liberty restrictions.”
Force protection is responsible for installation law enforcement, anti-terrorism, physical and operations security, meaning their duties put them in contact with hundreds of people each day, even during the pandemic. A thoroughly vaccinated security force is critical for maintaining mission readiness and for protecting their own communities.
"Getting the vaccine was easy and all information on it highlights that it’s safe and effective,” shared Master-at-Arms 1st Class Daniel Wright, assigned to Naval Submarine Base New London Security Forces. “I did it for my wife and newborn daughter at home. I'm the risk to the family because I come into contact with a lot of people every day."
Wright admitted to declining the vaccine the first time it was offered through his command out of concern that he’d have an allergic reaction and be unable to help his wife care for their infant daughter.
“I later decided to take the vaccine because stopping COVID-19 is a group effort,” said Wright. “Being vaccinated means I help prevent others from getting ill, because I’m less likely to spread it myself. I keep people that don’t have the option to receive the vaccine, such as my family, safe.”
For many across the country, a misunderstanding of the science and safety testing behind the vaccines remains the primary reason cited for refusing inoculation. Wright credited the virtual town halls hosted by NSB New London leadership and medical professionals for addressing his concerns and putting his mind at ease.
The fact is that the COVID-19 vaccines currently available to service members- Pfizer and Moderna- have been proven to be safe and effective according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Over 145 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine were administered in the United States from Dec. 14 through March 29 under the most intense safety monitoring in U.S. history.
Prior to being made publicly available, COVID-19 vaccines were evaluated in tens of thousands of participants in clinical trials. The vaccines met FDA’s rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness and manufacturing quality needed to support emergency use authorization.
Information on the safety and differences between COVID-19 vaccines is available on the Centers for Disease Control website: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/hcp/index.html.
For information on where service members and dependents can get the vaccine, please visit https://www.tricare.mil/covidvaccine or speak to your chain of command.