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Military's COVID vaccination campaign gathers steam in Europe

Lt. Col. Elizabeth Hoettels, 423rd Medical Squadron commander, receives the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at RAF Alconbury, England, Dec. 28, 2020. The U.S. military’s campaign to vaccinate personnel in Europe against the coronavirus gathered steam this week as health care workers on the front lines of fighting COVID-19 were inoculated at bases in Germany and the United Kingdom.

EUGENE OLIVER/U.S.AIR FORCE

By STARS AND STRIPES Published: December 30, 2020

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KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany – The U.S. military stepped up its campaign to vaccinate personnel in Europe against the coronavirus this week as health care workers on the front lines of fighting COVID-19 were inoculated at bases in Germany and the United Kingdom.

Airmen at bases in England and soldiers in Germany were given the Moderna vaccine starting Monday, U.S. European Command said in a statement.

The first person to be vaccinated at the U.S. Army Health Clinic Kaiserslautern Wednesday was clinic commander Maj. Shara Fisher.

“I chose to get the vaccine today in an effort to demonstrate my confidence in its safety and encourage all others to get the vaccine when it’s time,” she said.

The vaccine, which has emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, is available on a voluntary basis, the military has said.

Next week, Defense Department clinics in Italy, Spain, Belgium and Portugal are expected to receive their first shipment of the Moderna vaccine and begin inoculating personnel, EUCOM said.

“Getting everybody immunized allows us to move back to, essentially, a sense of normalcy in terms of how we interact with each other,” Brig. Gen. Mark Thompson, Commanding General of Regional Health Command Europe, said in the statement.

Once a second dose of the vaccine has been administered in around one month, the Moderna vaccine is 94% effective at preventing the disease caused by the coronavirus and 100% effective at preventing severe illness, the Massachusetts-based company that produces it said in a statement in November.

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U.S. military personel receive the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the Wiesbaden, Germany clinic, Dec. 30, 2020. The U.S. military’s campaign to vaccinate personnel in Europe against the coronavirus gathered steam this week as health care workers on the front lines of fighting COVID-19 were inoculated at bases in Germany and the United Kingdom.
LISA BISHOP/U.S. ARMY