More than Half of Coasties Are Now Vaccinated, Coast Guard Says

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Coast Guard Base New Orleans COVID-19 vaccine
Petty Officer 3rd Class Darian Hooker, a health services technician at Coast Guard Base New Orleans, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to a member at Base New Orleans, January 19, 2021. (John Michelli/U.S Coast Guard)

Editor’s Note: This story and its headline have been updated to replace incorrect data provided by the Coast Guard regarding the number of first vaccine doses administered. The story has also been updated to correct the number of Coast Guard personnel who died from COVID-19.

More than two-thirds of the Coast Guard''s total workforce, including active-duty, Reserve and civilian personnel, have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and roughly 35% are fully vaccinated, service officials said Monday.

The smallest of the armed services, with 58,197 service members and civilian workers, the Coast Guard has been closely tracking its COVID-19 cases and shots, according to Lt. Cmdr. Brittany Panetta, a service spokeswoman.

As of Monday, the service had administered 30,192 first doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, and 20,095 personnel had been fully vaccinated.

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"The Coast Guard COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan is implementing a phased, standardized, and coordinated strategy for prioritizing, distributing, and administering this vaccine to protect our people, maintain readiness, and support the national COVID-19 response," Panetta said in an email to Military.com on Monday.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Coast Guard has logged 2,832 cases of COVID-19 among its active-duty and Reserve members, or 6.1% of the uniformed force. That is significantly lower than the 9.2% overall infection rate for the general U.S. population.

Earlier this month, Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Karl Schultz attributed the service's success in addressing the coronavirus threat to its "agile and adaptive" force and families.

He noted that some units swiftly rolled out surveillance testing or switched to online training while facilities adapted to provide services to members and families in a pandemic environment.

Cutter crews also adhered to strict quarantine conditions to ensure they remained operational, Schultz said. On the Coast Guard National Security Cutter Stone, some crewmembers isolated themselves for two weeks on seven different occasions.

"To keep crews healthy and COVID free, cutters deployed without port calls or shoreside liberty. Our deployed forces had to be incredibly resilient and creative to get the job done, to maintain morale, and to stay safe," Schultz said March 11.

While no uniformed Coast Guard members have succumbed to the illness, three civilian employees have died, according to the service.

As of Monday, the Defense Department had recorded 265,825 cases of COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, including military personnel, dependents, civilian employees and contractors; 325 have died, including 24 uniformed service members.

According to the Pentagon, 9.1% of the Army's active and reserve forces have tested positive for COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, or 61,414 members; 9.5% of the Marine Corps has had COVID-19, or 20,600 members; 8.8% of the Navy has tested positive, or 35,814 sailors; and 29,401 airmen, or 7.2% of active-duty and Reserve Air Force members, have tested positive.

As of Friday, more than 600,000 active-duty, Guard or Reserve DoD service members had received at least one vaccination, roughly 30% of the uniformed force, Defense Health Agency Director Lt. Gen. Ronald Place said.

The vaccine is not mandatory for military personnel. DoD officials said Friday they are working hard to educate service members and families on the vaccine and expect that everyone will have an opportunity to be vaccinated by July 1.

"We do fully expect to be open to all ... of our DoD-eligible populations on or before the first of May. And at current uptake rates for those who ... want to get it, we think by the middle of July or so, again, assuming the vaccine supply continues as it is, and assuming nothing else takes away from our ... vaccinators," Place said.

Panetta said the service will continue to offer and administer doses of the COVID-19 vaccine as it receives them.

-- Patricia Kime can be reached at Patricia.Kime@Monster.com. Follow her on Twitter @patriciakime.

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