Portsmouth Naval Medical Center to receive 1st COVID-19 vaccine doses in DOD rollout


PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Naval Medical Center Portsmouth will be one of the initial distribution sites of COVID-19 vaccines for military service members, the Department of Defense announced Wednesday.

The DOD says it will start by administering a relatively small number of Pfizer’s vaccine to priority populations involved in “providing direct medical care, maintaining essential national security and installation functions, deploying forces, and those beneficiaries at the highest risk for developing severe illness from COVID-19 before other members of the DOD population.”

It’s unclear just how many of the initial doses Portsmouth will receive, but the initial allocation for all selected installations will be 43,875 doses due to limited supplies.

This will be the first of three phases for getting the vaccine to the more than 2 million active duty, reserve and civilian defense employees.

The distribution will begin once the Federal Drug Administration authorizes the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use. FDA scientists said this week the vaccine provides “strong” protection, but it’s still awaiting official approval by the U.S. government.

Defense officials the vaccine will voluntary because the vaccine will initially be available only on emergency use authorization, but it will be strongly encouraged.

Chief Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman said on Wednesday that the vaccine however could be mandatory after licensed approval by the FDA.

The initial allotment go out to Portsmouth and other installations in the U.S. and worldwide, including Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Naval Medical Center, San Diego, and Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu. Medical centers in Korea, Germany and Japan will also receive a portion of those initial doses.

Here’s the full list of installations:

Initial vaccination sites in the continental United States (CONUS) are:

  • Darnall Army Medical Center, Fort Hood, TX 
  • Willford Hall, Joint Base San Antonio, TX 
  • Madigan Army Medical Center, Joint Base Lewis McChord, WA  
  • Womack Army Medical Center, Fort Bragg, NC 
  • Navy Branch Health Clinic, Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, FL 
  • Base Alameda Health Services (clinic), U.S. Coast Guard Base, Alameda, CA 
  • Naval Medical Center, San Diego, CA 
    • Naval Hospital, Camp Pendleton, CA (distribution from San Diego)
  • Naval Hospital Pensacola, Pensacola, FL 
    • Armed Forces Retirement Home, Gulfport MS (Keesler AFB will administer) (distribution from Pensacola)
  • Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, MD 
    • Armed Forces Retirement Home, Washington, DC (distribution from Walter Reed)
  • Portsmouth Naval Medical Center, Portsmouth, VA 
    • U.S. Coast Guard Base Clinic, Portsmouth, VA (distribution from Portsmouth Naval Medical Center)
  • Indiana National Guard, Franklin, IN 
  • New York National Guard Medical Command, Watervliet, NY 

Initial vaccination sites outside of the continental United States (OCONUS) are:

  • Tripler Army Medical Center, Honolulu, HI 
  • Allgood Army Community Hospital, Camp Humphreys, Korea 
  • Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany 
  • Kadena Medical Facility, Kadena AB, Japan

“We chose locations with extra cold storage capability, sizable local priority populations and with medical staffs large enough to administer. We chose locations for military services, including active and reserve components,” said Army Lt. Gen. Dr. Ronald Place, the Pentagon’s Health Agency director. “As part of this initial phase of health-care workers, emergency responders, etcetera, we do have a very small set of very visible senior leaders that will volunteer to take the vaccine as one way to help message the safety and efficacy and to encourage all eligible personnel to take the vaccine.”

For more information on the DOD’s plan, click here.

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