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U.S. 5th Fleet Administers Nearly 13,000 COVID-19 Vaccines

April 1, 2021 | BY Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Daniel Hinton

As of March 28, the 5th Fleet has administered nearly 13,000 COVID-19 vaccines during a fleet-wide effort to protect the force.

The vaccination effort, which began in early January, has resulted in approximately 12,871 doses of the two-shot Moderna and single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccines being administered to military and civilian personnel throughout the fleet's area of operations.

A sailor wearing gloves and a face mask prepares to vaccinate another sailor.
Shot Prep
Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Amanda Reyna, right, prepares to administer a COVID-19 vaccine to Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Issac Patrick at Naval Support Activity Bahrain, March 30, 2021. The vaccination effort, which began in early January, has resulted in nearly 12,871 doses of the two-shot Moderna and single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccines being administered to military and civilian personnel throughout the 5th Fleet area of operations.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Dawson Roth
VIRIN: 210330-N-KZ419-1114C

"The vaccination of our personnel is essential in maintaining a ready force and effectively mitigating the threat posed by the pandemic," said Navy Capt. Kevin Buckley, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT)/5th Fleet force surgeon. "Our successful vaccine distribution, education and administration efforts have required a great deal of hard work and coordination by many different personnel across numerous organizations."

Doses were initially offered only to those in high-risk categories, first responders and other essential personnel, in accordance with the Defense Department's prioritization guidance. The scope has since been expanded to include a broader range of personnel throughout the area of operations, stationed ashore and afloat.

The first deployed shipboard personnel within the fleet to receive vaccines were those aboard amphibious transport dock USS San Diego and guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea, shortly after both ships identified positive cases onboard in late February. 

A sailor wearing a face mask and gloves fills out vaccine paperwork.
COVID-19 Paperwork
Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Amanda Reyna fills out COVID-19 vaccination paperwork before administering a vaccine brief to sailors at Naval Support Activity Bahrain, March 30, 2021. The vaccination effort, which began in early January, has resulted in nearly 12,871 doses of the two-shot Moderna and single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccines being administered to military and civilian personnel throughout the 5th Fleet area of operations.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Dawson Roth
VIRIN: 210330-N-KZ419-1047C

"After isolating the positive cases from both ships and providing care for those individuals, the next essential step was to implement additional mitigations, including making the vaccine available to as many crew members as possible so they could get back to supporting the mission," said Navy Lt. Nii Adjei Oninku, NAVCENT/5th Fleet health protection officer. "Now, we're able to use the lessons learned from that process to effectively expand our support to afloat units throughout the fleet."

Of the total number of personnel vaccinated, 3,642 have received their second Moderna dose, and 835 have received their single Johnson & Johnson dose.  The Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Unit Bahrain continues to schedule additional doses for units throughout the fleet's area of operation as the effort to inoculate the fleet maintains momentum.

"This has been an incredible opportunity to support the health and safety of our military community," said Navy Lt. Claire Piccirilli, Naval Branch Health Clinic Bahrain immunization nurse. "We remind all our personnel that taking the vaccine is the best way to protect themselves, their shipmates and the mission at hand."

A sailor wearing a face mask and gloves administers a vaccine to another sailor.
Administering Shots
Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Amanda Reyna, right, administers a COVID-19 vaccine to Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Issac Patrick at Naval Support Activity Bahrain, March 30, 2021. The vaccination effort, which began in early January, has resulted in nearly 12,871 doses of the two-shot Moderna and single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccines being administered to military and civilian personnel throughout the 5th Fleet area of operations.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Dawson Roth
VIRIN: 210330-N-KZ419-1123C

Bahrain, host to the 5th Fleet headquarters and an important regional and coalition partner, has recently offered the Pfizer vaccine to DOD dependents aged 18 and older, resulting in the administration of 150 doses.

"We are incredibly thankful to our host nation for their support," said Navy Capt. Shawn McGehee, NAVCENT/5th Fleet safety officer. "We continue to keep the press on and are committed to ensuring that all personnel across the fleet remain healthy, ready and resilient in the face of any challenge."

The 5th Fleet area of operations encompasses about 2.5 million square miles of water area and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean. The expanse comprises 20 countries and includes three critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, the Suez Canal and the Strait of Bab el-Mandeb at the southern tip of Yemen.