An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : Media : News : News Article View
NEWS | April 8, 2021

Ninety-six Percent of 7th Fleet Sailors Vaccinated

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Shannon Burns U.S. 7th Fleet Public Affairs

PHILIPPINE SEA -- More than 14,000 personnel throughout the Navy’s U.S. 7th Fleet – 96% of the force – are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Medical personnel began administering the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination to forward-deployed service members Jan. 5, as part of a fleet-wide effort to protect the force.
“We have been partnering with Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Navy Forces Japan, and 7th Fleet since day one,” said Capt. Joseph F. Penta, U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka COVID 19 vaccine coordinator. “It has been a team effort and our part has been receiving and giving the vaccine efficiently in a setting with all the necessary safety precautions.”

Penta said the vaccine is a vital tool to protect against COVID 19, and a step toward getting back to life as it used to be before the pandemic.

“We are in a pandemic and our principle weapon for ending this and saving lives is the vaccine. We owe it to ourselves, our family and country to make every effort to stop the pandemic and if we succeed we not only save lives, but we help meet the mission of maintaining the world’s strongest Navy,” said Penta.

The process of vaccinating 14,000 personnel was a collaborative effort between leadership, medical personnel, operational commands, and logistics organizations.

“It is an honor to immunize our fleet, alongside our local Navy Medical Treatment Facilities, so we are medically fit and ready to continue our operations in the area,” said Fleet Surgeon Capt. Christine Sears, assigned to U.S. 7th Fleet. “When our Sailors are immunized, they can continue to focus their full attention on our missions and exercises.”

In addition to vaccinating active duty personnel, the 7th Fleet vaccination program also included the Navy’s critical logistics and resupply organizations.

"I am extremely proud of all the Military Sealift Command Far East personnel, including our civil service and contract mariners, who stepped up to be vaccinated,” Capt. Samuel F. de Castro, Military Sealift Command Far East Commodore. “They understand this is an important readiness issue and just one way we contribute to mission accomplishment.”

In accordance with the Emergency Use Authorization, receiving the vaccine is voluntary. Sailors had questions, and 7th Fleet commands ensured they had the resources to understand what the vaccine was and why it’s important to receive it.

“Given how new the vaccine was, it required a pretty massive educational undertaking to make sure the crew understood how the vaccine works, how it’s regulated, why it’s good to take the vaccine, and how it’s going to help us defeat COVID-19,” said Capt. Fred Goldhammer, commanding officer of USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76).

Some Sailors chose to receive the vaccine because of the protection it offers. Some took it because they personally witnessed the impact of COVID.

“I’ve had people back home pass away because of COVID-19. Some family members have gotten it, and they’ve gone through some issues because of it,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Fuels) Airman Matthew Rolen, assigned to Reagan. “I might be young and healthy, but I might spread it to my grandparents or my uncle, and that’s on me. I recommend everyone get it.”

Leaders throughout 7th Fleet expressed appreciation for the dedication and perseverance Sailors have displayed in facing the challenges of continuing operations with a COVID environment.

"We could not ask for a more tangible and positive commitment to health and mission readiness from our Sailors," said Capt. Chase Sargeant, commander, Theater Surface Warfare 7th Fleet. "Immunization is seen as the best opportunity to reduce health risk for themselves and their families.”

While the future of COVID-19 may be uncertain, vaccinating the fleet helps personnel stay mission-ready.

As the U.S. Navy's largest forward-deployed fleet, 7th Fleet employs 50-70 ships and submarines across the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans. U.S. 7th Fleet routinely operates and interacts with 35 maritime nations while conducting missions to preserve and protect a free and open Indo-Pacific.

CONNECT WITH USINDOPACOM

ENGAGE & CONNECT MORE WITH PACOM

                                                 

IN THE USINDOPACOM NEWS
ACDC: Marksmanship training Reel
May 21, 2024 - U.S. Marines with 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, and service members with the Philippine Armed Forces conduct marksmanship training during Archipelagic Coastal Defense Continuum...

U.S. Pacific Fleet Announces 29th RIMPAC Exercise
Graphic intended for use as a placeholder for Statements and Press Releases without accompanying imagery.
May 21, 2024 - Approximately 29 nations, 40 surface ships, 3 submarines, 14 national land forces, over 150 aircraft and more than 25,000 personnel will participate in the biennial Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise scheduled June 26 to...

Navy Awards Two Government of Japan Funded Contracts Totaling $122 Million for Work at Marine Corps Installation on Guam
Graphic intended for use as a placeholder for Statements and Press Releases without accompanying imagery.
May 21, 2024 - Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) Pacific awarded two firm-fixed price task order Government of Japan (GOJ) funded contracts totaling $122 million for work at Marine Corps Base Camp Blaz (MCBCB) on Guam...

LANPAC Forum Strengthens Leadership and Alliances in Indo-Pacific
Lt. Gen. (Retired) Leslie C. Smith talks about patience, kindness, how to solve problems and the importance of see the Army as a profession and sense of purpose during the Leadership Forum at Honolulu, HI., on May 14, 2024. He asked Capt. Zhi Bing Cheong from the Singapore Army to share opinions about patience.

The LANPAC Leadership Forum professionally develops and inspires leaders, showcases USARPAC subordinate units, and engages both allies and partners across the USINDOPACOM area of responsibility.



(U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Carolina Sierra)
May 21, 2024 - Senior non-commissioned officers, senior officers, warrant officers, allies, and partners across the United States Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM) area of responsibility came together May 14 through the 16 for three days...

U.S. Coast Guard visit to Republic of Palau strengthens maritime navigation and cooperation
Lt. Jay DeInnocentiis meets with Marine Transportation leadership and ATON technicians to discuss the fixed and floating ATON constellation in Palau on May 14, 2024. The team completed a vital weeklong mission in the Republic of Palau, setting the stage for future collaboration and bolstering safe maritime navigation and security. This visit, in response to a request from Palau Marine Transportation, focused on an Aids to Navigation (ATON) Subject Matter Expert Exchange (SMEE). (U.S. Coast Guard photo)
May 20, 2024 - The U.S. Coast Guard completed a vital weeklong mission in the Republic of Palau, setting the stage for future collaboration and bolstering safe maritime navigation and security...