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SAN DIEGO, Calif. - Over 300 Sailors assigned to Ticonderoga-class guided missile-cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG 57) volunteered and received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, March 4.
Lake Champlain is the latest ship homeported in San Diego to receive the vaccine. Over 2,900 vaccines were administered aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) last month.
“Planning the vaccinations for the ship was very important because we wanted to ensure that we got as many of our Sailors vaccinated for the safety of the crew and their families while supporting the operational mission of the ship,” said Senior Chief Logistics Specialist Verleo Quinajon, one of the coordinators of the event. “It was crucial that we had all the logistics and planning accomplished ahead of time so we could identify and correct any possible setbacks that we may encounter today.”
The crew is receiving the Pfizer vaccine which is two-dose series separated by 21 days.
Hospitalman Edward Velez, assigned to Lake Champlain’s medical team, is optimistic that the vaccine provides our Navy and communities a path back to normalcy.
“Because of the pandemic, many medical facilities had to limit their operations, which affected a lot of the crew,” said Velez. “This will hopefully help with Sailors being able to make more medical appointments and receive much needed referrals and consultations.”
There have been many safety measures put in place on U.S. Navy ships during the pandemic in accordance with Center for Disease Control and U.S. Navy guidelines. Sailors wear masks, wash their hands, regularly sanitize equipment and maintain social distancing. Even after Navy personnel are vaccinated, many procedures will remain in effect to help effectively safeguard Sailors, families and communities.
“The crew will continue wearing masks and practicing social distancing after vaccination, to ensure that we continue to minimize the spread of the virus,” said Capt. Allen Johnson, commanding officer of USS Lake Champlain. “Vaccinating the crew is a critical step in ensuring personnel readiness.”
Currently the Pfizer vaccine is approved as part of an emergency use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and vaccines authorized for emergency use are offered on a voluntary basis. Once the vaccine is more readily available, it could soon be added to the list of mandated vaccines for all Sailors.