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Almost half of San Diego's military now fully vaccinated against virus, Navy says

In an Apr. 19, 2021 photo, Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Brandon Chorny, assigned to Naval Medical Center San Diego, prepares a coronavirus vaccine at Naval Base Point Loma's Admiral Kidd Center.

JACOB V. MICIANO/U.S. NAVY

By ANDREW DYER | The San Diego Union-Tribune | Published: April 30, 2021

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SAN DIEGO (Tribune News Service) — Almost half the active-duty military population of San Diego County have received both doses of the coronavirus vaccine, the Navy said Thursday.

The local vaccine numbers, which the Navy had previously declined to provide, show that vaccination rates among local service members are higher than those among active-duty troop across all branches. The latest numbers from the Defense Department show fewer than 40 percent of active-duty service members are fully vaccinated.

Navy Medical Forces Pacific, which is in charge of administrating vaccines at both Naval Medical Center San Diego and Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton, said that it has provided 66,148 first doses and 49,745 second doses of the vaccine to people on active duty. There are about 110,000 people on active duty in San Diego County.

That would indicate about 60% of area active-duty military have received at least one dose, compared with 53% for the county overall as of April 28.

The Marine Corps is part of the Department of the Navy and Marines receive medical care at Navy hospitals. Navy medical facilities also serve military family members and retirees. The Navy says it has given more than 60,000 doses to those family members and retirees.

As more people have received vaccines, Navy providers are seeing a plateau in the numbers of vaccines administered, said Regena Kowitz, a Navy spokeswoman. She said this is partially due to so many people getting vaccinated and that vaccines are widely available from other providers.

"We continue to offer vaccines at our vaccine clinics and we continue to provide hundreds of immunizations daily," Kowitz said in an email. "Every vaccine counts."

The coronavirus vaccine is voluntary for military personnel for now since it was approved under an emergency waiver from the Food and Drug Administration. Once fully approved, it could become mandatory for service members, just as many other vaccines are.

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