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DVIDS – News – The Whys Have It – Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine Explained


It was back in the early days of the current ongoing pandemic outbreak that Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Megan Schnell experienced the cruel devastation of COVID-19.

Schnell lost a close relative to the coronavirus, not just an unknown statistic among the more than 365,000 – and counting – deaths attributed to the virus.

It was a heartbreaking passing for her entire family.

When the opportunity to receive the COVID-19 vaccine became available, she readily received the first of her two doses at Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Command (NMRTC) Bremerton.

“I chose to get vaccinated because I recently lost my uncle to COVID-19. His passing really hurt our family. We were not able to see him and give him a real goodbye. This was back when the virus was brand new and was not as understood as it is now. I see how lucky I am to be one of the first to get the vaccine, and I am grateful,” said Schnell, with NMRTC Bremerton Family Medicine Team 3.

Whether from tragic loss, a longing for normalcy, or selfless support of others, Sailors are volunteering to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

“I got the COVID-19 Vaccine to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect myself and my family,” shared Hospitalman Ellison Robinson, NMRTC Bremerton Labor and Delivery department.

After getting an initial shipment Dec. 22, 2020, of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine that received emergency use authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, NMRTC Bremerton began administering the vaccinations the day after, Dec. 23, 2020.

“I got the COVID-19 vaccine because it was the right thing to do. I want to help do my part in stopping this pandemic that has taken so many lives,” stated Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Merven Cuevas, NMRTC Bremerton Labor and Delivery department.

In conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Department of Defense (DoD) distribution plan for administering the vaccine at military medical treatment facilities like NMRTC Bremerton calls for prioritizing through a phased approach to vaccinate all active duty and reserve components, TRICARE Prime and TRICARE Select beneficiaries, and select DoD civilians and contract personnel authorized to receive immunizations from DoD.

“I want to be the instrument of change for the better. With it, I can kill the virus before it spreads to others: my shipmates; my patients; my friends; family and love ones. I did my part and I would encourage for you to do it, too. Let us fight the COVID-19 virus all together. Together we are strong,” stressed Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Julius Ramirez, with NMRTC Bremerton Radiology department.

Initial doses of the vaccine were given to frontline health care workers such as NMRTC Bremerton hospital corpsmen, along with other first responders, including emergency medical services personnel, security forces, and other essential personnel.

“I got the COVID-19 vaccine because I want things to back to being normal. I miss eating out and socializing with friends,” related Hospitalman Ana Davalos, assigned to NMRTC Bremerton Family Medicine department.

Although getting the vaccine is voluntary, all DoD personnel are being encouraged to get it to protect their health, their families and their community.

“I got the COVID-19 vaccine because it is not just about me. It’s about the people that I care about. I do not want to risk the chance of my mom potentially getting COVID because I didn’t get the vaccine when I had the chance,” explained Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Rodney Graham, with NMRTC Bremerton Command Career Counselor office.

During this initial COVID-19 vaccination rollout, there is a limited supply of COVID-19 vaccine(s) with vaccine distribution priorities focused on: health care workers and emergency services personnel; Personnel performing activities associated with critical national capabilities; select deploying individuals; critical and essential support, as well as individuals at the highest risk for developing severe illness from COVID-19.

“I got the COVID-19 vaccine because I want to be able to protect my kids since I’m working the frontlines at a hospital,” added Electronics Technician 1st Class Robert Greenfield, assigned to NMRTC Bremerton Information Management department.

Vaccines will be offered to NMRTC Bremerton patients, including military family members and retirees as more vaccines are available and after prioritized groups and individuals have been vaccinated.

“I got the COVID-19 vaccine because it is hopefully the first step to getting back to normal,” said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Jessica Pohl, assigned to Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Unit Bangor.

Yet why should someone voluntarily get the COVID-19 vaccination when the opportunity is available?

“I got the COVID-19 vaccine because if I can do anything to not give COVID to anyone else that could die from getting it, I will do it no matter what,” commented Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Alison R. Wermager, assigned to NMRTC Bremerton’s Laboratory department.

NMRTC Bremerton public health and population health experts attest that getting the vaccine helps anyone not only protect themselves, but also their family, friends and co-workers with an additional layer of protection.

“This vaccine allows us to ensure our staff are as protected as possible as we continue to provide care,” stated Cmdr. Robert Uniszkiewicz, NHB/NMRTC Bremerton public health director and head of the command COVID-19 working group.

The risks involved in getting the vaccine can include such side effects as injection site soreness, headache and fever. There’s also a remote chance that the vaccine could cause a severe allergic reaction. Those with known history of anaphylaxis or of an immediate allergic reaction of any severity to a vaccine or injectable therapy should contact their primary care manager before receiving.

“There are similar symptoms that sometimes are associated with someone getting the annual influenza vaccination,” said Dr. Dan Frederick, NMRTC Bremerton population health officer.

On the flip side, not getting the vaccine also has risk. Anyone can get COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.

“I got the COVID-19 vaccine because after seeing the few amount of bad reactions from it, I felt confident it will be effective and help bring down COVID cases, and hopefully can help to stop the spread,” said Logistics Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Robert Massena, NMRTC Bremerton Material Management.

COVID-19 symptoms may include fever or chills, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, sore throat, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, cough, and even loss of taste and/or smell. The respiratory illness can – and has – affected other organs such as causing heart failure and strokes. Even in young people. People who have had COVID-19 report a wide range of symptoms – ranging from mild to severe. Some suffer for several weeks to months after an infection with weakness, fatigue and shortness of breath.

“I got the COVID-19 vaccine because I do have a family and would like to protect them. Any chance to limit the spread of the virus, we should all take part in,” noted Hospitalman (SW) Tibault Swanson, with NMRTC Bremerton Family Practice.

NMRTC Bremerton leadership still advocate that even after vaccination, there is still a need be remain vigilant in following public health guidance and mitigation strategies, such as staying home when sick, frequent hand washing, practicing physical distancing, and wearing face coverings when appropriate to protect everyone’s safety.

“I got the COVID-19 vaccine because I want to take my kids to Disneyland again,”

Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Dorothy R. Ayres, with NMRTC Bremerton Family Medicine Team 1.







Date Taken: 01.08.2021
Date Posted: 01.08.2021 17:33
Story ID: 386642
Location: BREMERTON , WA, US 





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