HARTFORD, Conn. – The Connecticut National Guard helped Naval Submarine Base New London vaccinate about 1,000 Sailors and eligible Navy personnel April 1.
Maj. Gen. Francis Evon, adjutant general and commander of the Connecticut National Guard announced the coordinated effort.
Naval Submarine Base (SUBASE) New London had a comprehensive plan to vaccinate members but was limited by a lack of vaccine. The collaboration with the Connecticut National Guard is the first major validation of this plan.
The vaccination clinic was at Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton.
“We greatly appreciate the Connecticut National Guard supporting this joint effort to conduct a mass vaccination clinic and help us prove a concept of operations,” said Capt. Todd Moore, SUBASE New London commanding officer. “We’ve practiced for mass vaccinations in the past with annual flu shots, vaccinating several hundred personnel in a day. And we’ve been able to conduct similar operations with the COVID-19 vaccine when availability has allowed. This joint effort goal is to administer 1,000 doses at one time.”
Medical personnel with the Connecticut National Guard oversaw the distribution of Pfizer vaccine, accounting for dosages administered by Navy personnel, and both services shared lessons learned from the base and from the Guard’s experience assisting vaccination sites around the state.
“Efficiency is key. Aggressively getting after shots in arms isn’t just essential for public health; it’s essential for maintaining and building readiness,” said Evon. “Readiness requires working efficiently across service lines, across active- and reserve-component lines, to keep the nation safe come whatever may.”
For SUBASE New London, the Guard “working across service lines” was instrumental in proving the concept and “getting shots in arms” for many people.
“This is really a ‘shot in the arm’ for all us,” said Moore. “It’s proof of collegial cooperation leading to joint success and proof that we’ve established a process and procedure to safely and efficiently vaccinate this larger number of personnel. We hope to continue to be able to schedule events like this when supplies are available to not only ensure mission readiness but also do our part to help all of us reach community immunity.”
The Department of Defense’s vaccine supply is a separate allocation than that given to states for distribution to the public. This supply, prioritized by the DOD, currently includes all uniformed members of the department, civilian employees and Tricare-enrolled dependents.
The Connecticut National Guard’s mission assisting the state Department of Public Health with vaccination sites around the state is a separate mission using the state’s vaccine allocation.
The Connecticut National Guard aggressively pursued getting the cold storage equipment needed to store any of the COVID-19 vaccines currently under Emergency Use Authorization.