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DOD Seeing Encouraging COVID-19 Vaccination Rates, Health Leaders Say

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As of today, the Defense Department has administered over 3.3 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to eligible DOD personnel, with 58% of active duty members having had at least one dose and 44% fully vaccinated, DOD health leaders said.

Dr. Terry Adirim, acting assistant secretary of defense for health affairs and Army Lt. Gen. Ronald J. Place, the director of the Defense Health Agency, provided a COVID-19 update today during a Pentagon press briefing.


Just one month ago, when vaccinations were available to everyone, the active duty population was only at 37% receiving one dose, said Adirim. "So we're making good, steady progress." 

It's important to note that COVID-19 infection incidents for DOD personnel are lower than for the civilian population, she said. "That is a sign that our force health protection measures are working."

The department has redoubled its efforts to encourage everyone to get vaccinated, she mentioned. 

A sailor in personal protective gear handles a test kit at a drive-through COVID-19 test site.
Navy Seaman Daisy Rose Tinaynan, a hospital corpsman, retrieves a COVID-19 test kit at the drive-thru COVID-19 test site across from Naval Branch Health Clinic Jacksonville in Jacksonville, Fla. During the pandemic, the Defense Department's Manufacturing Innovation Institutes leveraged its partnerships so manufacturers could quickly pivot and ramp up production to respond to the need for personal protective equipment.
Photo By: Deidre Smith, Navy
VIRIN: 210318-N-QA097-012
Language translators assist the community at a community vaccination center.
Language Translators
Various language translators wait to assist local community members at the community vaccination center in St. Paul, Minn., April 17, 2021. U.S. Northern Command, through Army North, remains committed to providing continued, flexible Defense Department support to the Federal Emergency Management Agency as part of the whole-of-government response to COVID-19.
Photo By: Air Force Staff Sgt. Mikaley Kline
VIRIN: 210417-F-IF502-0009

Last week, in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance on masking, the department announced that fully vaccinated personnel can safely participate in most activities and are no longer required to wear a mask indoors or outdoors at most DOD facilities, she said. However, unvaccinated personnel should continue wearing masks as required by DOD policy to protect themselves and others who have not been fully vaccinated.

Defense Department service members, including the Guard, have so far administered over 15 million doses of vaccines to civilians across America, she added.

A man wearing a face mask handles swab test tubes.
Supply Prep
In Florida, a Navy hospital corpsman prepares supplies at Naval Hospital Jacksonville’s "swab tent" during the COVID-19 pandemic. The hospital’s providers refer patients to this service for screening and test sample collection, when medically indicated. During the pandemic, the Defense Department's Manufacturing Innovation Institutes leveraged its public-private partnerships to enable manufacturers to quickly pivot and ramp up production to respond to the urgent need for personal protective equipment.
Photo By: Jacob Sippel, Navy
VIRIN: 200624-N-AW702-002

Place said that last week when the Food and Drug Administration authorized the Pfizer vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds, DOD began shipping it overseas for DOD's adolescent community.

Earlier this week, Place said he hosted a meeting with allies and partner nations' medical communities to better understand effective approaches in terms of both treatment and vaccinations. "I'm grateful for the contributions and collaboration of so many medical professionals throughout the United States and across the world."

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