Who among Connecticut military personnel has received the COVID-19 vaccine so far?
Submarine crews and National Guardsmen, who have been at the forefront of Connecticut's response to the pandemic, are among the first military personnel in the state to receive the coronavirus vaccine.
A total of 415,000 doses have been distributed to military installations across the country, nearly 140,000 of which have been administered, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s vaccination tracking site. The Pentagon has its own vaccine distribution plan, which prioritizes similar populations, such as medical personnel, as does the rollout taking place among the general public.
Capt. Todd Moore, commanding officer of the Naval Submarine Base, said in a video message last week that personnel there, including medical staff at the base clinic, child care providers, fire and security forces and submarine crews, have received their first shots.
Moore, who, like other military leaders, has emphasized the importance of getting vaccinated, received his first dose Tuesday. He and members of the base clinic are holding virtual forums to talk about the vaccine and answer questions from sailors, base workers and their families.
Given that the vaccine is only authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency use at this point, it’s not yet mandatory for service members to get inoculated. However, military officials anticipate it eventually will be required.
More than 400 Connecticut National Guardsmen have received their first shots. Soldiers and airmen on “COVID-19 response missions” were prioritized in this first round, said Capt. Dave Pytlik, a spokesman for the Guard. He said the refusal rate so far has been about 25%.
The Coast Guard Academy is planning to begin administering the vaccine to cadets in the coming weeks. The plan is to prioritize members of the Class of 2021, who will soon be young officers in the fleet, and third-class cadets who will be stationed at Coast Guard units this summer as part of their training.
A voluntary survey of cadets found that 79% said they would be comfortable getting the vaccine. About 69% said they would like additional information about it. The survey had a participation rate of about 70%.
Staff members at the academy’s clinic have begun vaccinating personnel stationed on Coast Guard ships and at units throughout Connecticut, including crew members of the barque Eagle and those assigned to station New London.
Rear Adm. Bill Kelly, the academy’s superintendent, along with other academy leadership, could get his first shot as soon as next week.