U.S. Air Force personnel at Ramstein Air Base in Germany received their first inoculations against the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 on Monday as the process to vaccinate U.S. military personnel in Europe accelerated, Stars & Stripes reported.
Gino Mattorano, spokesman for the Regional Health Command Europe, said the Defense Department was moving quickly from the emergency use authorization of the Moderna vaccine, which was approved on Dec. 18. First doses of the vaccine arrived in Europe around Christmas day and injections began five days later.
Chief Master Sgt. Alex Angulo, security forces manager for the 569th U.S. Forces Police Squadron, was one of the first to receive the vaccine at Ramstein.
“I’m hopeful that this is the way to finally end COVID-19,” he said to Stars & Stripes.
The Moderna vaccine requires two inoculations – 28 days apart – to be 94% effective.
Vaccinations for oversees military personnel also have begun in the Middle East at Naval Support Activity Bahrain. However, officials at Aviano Air Base in Italy weren’t expecting to receive the vaccine for “a few weeks.”
Col. Ryan Mihata, the 86th Medical Group commander at Ramstein, also received the vaccine, hoping to convince subordinates to do the same.
“I trust the science completely,” he said.
Military personnel can opt out of getting injected, but at Ramstein, they must show at a gymnasium where their choice is noted in their medical record.
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