SG’s Message – Projecting Medical Power at Community Vaccination Centers

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Shipmates,

Our One Navy Medicine Team continues to adapt and meet the challenges posed by the COVID pandemic.  Most recently, I was impressed with the role of our intrepid personnel in the effort to sink COVID.

Beginning in mid-February, Navy medical personnel deployed across the United States and U.S. Territories to support community vaccination centers (CVC’s) in support of the presidential-directed COVID-19 vaccination mission.  The size of these teams have varied based on the need of each community that they serve.  Type 1 teams can comprise up to 222 personnel, Type 2 teams can include up 139 personnel and a Type 4 team includes 25 individuals.

The CVC’s are overseen by U.S. Army North, U.S, Northern Command’s Joint Force Land Component Command, and operate in support of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Department of Health and Human Services. As of April 7, 2021, Navy medical personnel are serving at CVC’s in Florida, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Massachusetts, Missouri, and the Virgin Islands.

Last week I visited a Navy medical-led Type 2 Team based at the CVC at York College in Jamaica, Queens, NY.  The team – under the command of Navy nurse CAPT Eva Domotorffy – consists of 139 Sailors from 8 different Navy Medicine commands and Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit Two (MDSU2).  MDSU2 was deployed with the Navy Medicine team to provide essential administrative and logistical support.  Sailors at the site have been providing to shots to members of the local community since February 24th and administered their 100,000th vaccine the day of our visit. The site is currently able to vaccinate about 3,000 people per day with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.  Collectively our teams have helped deliver more than 500,000 vaccines to eligible civilians!

Though the teams are doing important work for the City of New York, they are also finding it very rewarding, one MDSU Master Chief canceled his terminal leave before retiring just so he could participate in this historic evolution and told me that this is the most rewarding work he has ever done. The team has established best practices and are sharing those with FEMA, DOD and the State to help project Navy Medicine’s Power even further. 

As we continue to work with local communities to ramp up COVID immunity, I’d ask those who have not yet taken the vaccine to step back and recognize how safe we are finding it to be. The number of serious reactions is exceedingly low and it becomes increasingly clear that the benefit of receiving it is extremely high. While we salute the great work being done by our colleagues working the CVCs we can each make our own contribution to community immunity by stepping forward and rolling up our sleeves. Your shipmates, neighbors and I thank you in advance!

To learn more about CVC effort I encourage you all to click on the link below to a video from my visit to New York.

YouTube link for non-government computers: https://youtu.be/84Qj6N76PB4

MilSuite link for government computers: https://www.milsuite.mil/video/42379

The story of our fight against COVID-19 is still being written, but I am very proud of

our people for continuing to project Medical Power.

With my deepest gratitude, SG

Bruce L. Gillingham, MD, CPE, AOA

RADM, MC, USN

Surgeon General, U.S. Navy

Chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery

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