The wait is over for U.S European Command personnel and family members who want to get the COVID-19 vaccination.
“Vaccination appointments are widely available,” said U.S. Air Force Col (Dr.) Elizabeth Erickson, U.S. European Command acting command surgeon. “Our medical treatment facilities are stocked with enough doses to vaccinate all DoD personnel and beneficiaries within the USEUCOM region who want to protect themselves from COVID-19. Now is a great time for those who have been waiting to go ahead and get vaccinated,” Erickson added.
According to DoD statistics released on May 20, about 58 percent of the overall DoD active-duty force has received at least one dose and 44 percent are fully vaccinated. The vaccination rate of DoD personnel across USEUCOM is above the vaccination rate of the general population of the United States.
“We are pleased with the progress we are making to reduce the spread of COVID through our vaccination efforts,” said U.S. European Command’s Senior Enlisted Leader, U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sergeant Phillip Easton. “Our personnel understand that vaccinations are our path to defeating this invisible enemy.”
As more people are vaccinated and the rate of infection declines, some signs of normalcy are returning to daily life within the command. One visible example of this positive trend is the recent policy update stating that fully-vaccinated people do not have to wear masks in DoD facilities.
Erickson pointed out that while we must still be mindful of adhering to host nation rules, being fully vaccinated can provide people greater freedom of travel. “Depending on the countries involved, fully-vaccinated travelers can be relieved of the burden of testing and quarantine requirements,” she said.
Beyond the comfort of not wearing a mask or the convenience of skipping the COVID testing line at the airport, protection of the force against the ravages of COVID-19 remains the primary reason DoD leaders are encouraging all department personnel to get vaccinated.
“What the data and the science has shown us is that the vaccine prevents serious infections, hospitalizations and deaths,” said Acting Assistant Secretary of Health Affairs Dr. Terry Adirim, during a Pentagon news conference on May 20. Adirim reiterated, “the vaccines are extraordinarily safe.”
As more DoD personnel in Europe get vaccinated, the rates of COVID-19 cases are decreasing. The current number of active COVID-19 cases in the DoD population in Europe is the lowest it has been since August 2020.
Vaccinations remain voluntary at this time. Appointments for vaccinations at USECUOM medical treatment facilities can be booked through the Defense Health Agency Appointment Portal at: https://informatics-stage.health.mil/COVAX/
For more information about USEUCOM vaccination efforts, click HERE.
U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) is responsible for U.S. military operations across Europe, portions of Asia and the Middle East, the Arctic and Atlantic Ocean. USEUCOM is comprised of more than 64,000 military and civilian personnel and works closely with NATO Allies and partners. The command is one of two U.S. forward-deployed geographic combatant commands headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany. For more information about USEUCOM, visit https://www.eucom.mil.