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Petty Officer 3rd Class Jasmine Blade, a hospital corpsman, administers a COVID-19 vaccine during a mass-immunization exercise on Naval Air Station Sigonella, Italy, Dec. 7, 2021.  Sigonella has given nearly 1,700 COVID-19 booster shots to adults since Nov. 1.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Jasmine Blade, a hospital corpsman, administers a COVID-19 vaccine during a mass-immunization exercise on Naval Air Station Sigonella, Italy, Dec. 7, 2021. Sigonella has given nearly 1,700 COVID-19 booster shots to adults since Nov. 1. (Josh Coté/U.S. Navy)

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NAPLES, Italy — Navy medical personnel in southern Europe have injected more than 10,000 COVID-19 boosters to eligible adults and teens and vaccinated hundreds of children under the age of 12 in recent months since the shots were made available in the fall.

Bases in Spain, Italy and Greece reported strong turnout for COVID-19 boosters and pediatric doses of the vaccines with many base medical facilities offering multiple shot clinics in addition to scheduled or walk-in appointments.

“There has been a steady demand for COVID-19 boosters within our community since boosters were made available,” U.S. Naval Hospital Sigonella in Sicily said in a statement.

About 65% of shots given to adults 18 and older at southern Europe naval bases Nov. 1 through mid-January were of the Moderna vaccine followed by Pfizer at 34%, medical officials reported. Johnson & Johnson accounted for about 1% percent of booster shots, which are urged by the Navy but not yet mandated.

Sigonella has given nearly 1,700 booster shots to adults 18 and older since Nov. 1 and administered 255 doses of the pediatric Pfizer vaccine to children ages 5-11, the hospital reported.

Officials did not offer details on the numbers of vaccinations or booster shots given to children ages 12-17.

But in a Jan. 4 Facebook post Sigonella said booster shots were available for 16- and 17-year-olds and that it would later announce when younger teens could get them.

At Naval Station Rota in Spain, more than 4,100 adults 18 and older received a booster shot over the same period. Another 200 booster shots were given to 16- and 17-year-olds, the base’s hospital said.

Nearly 500 doses of the pediatric vaccine were given to children ages 5-11 . About 400 vaccinations were given to 12- to 17-year-olds, the data show.

Rota officials said it was hard to tell if a recent Navy directive urging sailors, their dependents and Defense Department civilians to get booster shots was influencing vaccination trends because the community’s vaccination rates already were high.

Just more than 3,700 booster shots were given to adults since Nov. 1 at Naval Support Activity Naples, medical officials there said. Forty-two booster doses were given to eligible 16- and 17-year-olds since U.S. Naval Hospital Naples began offering them Dec. 15.

Nearly 1,000 pediatric doses were administered to children ages 5-11 since Nov. 16, the hospital reported. Some 700 vaccinations were given to children ages 12-17 as of Jan. 11.

In Greece, Naval Support Activity Souda Bay reported that 342 booster vaccinations were given to adults 18 and older. The dependent restricted base gave just one booster dose to a teen and was scheduled to begin offering pediatric vaccinations to 5-11 year olds last week. Twenty vaccinations were administered to children ages 12-17, officials said

By the numbers

Booster vaccinations by vaccine type given to adults ages 18 and older at U.S. Naval hospitals in southern Europe since Nov. 1:

NAS Sigonella NSA Souda Bay NSA Naples NS Rota
Moderna 1,110 254 2,034 3,000-plus
Pfizer 562 86 1,647 1,100-plus
Johnson & Johnson 26 2 54 About 10
author picture
Alison Bath reports on the U.S. Navy, including U.S. 6th Fleet, in Europe and Africa. She has reported for a variety of publications in Montana, Nevada and Louisiana, and served as editor of newspapers in Louisiana, Oregon and Washington.
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