SEMBACH, Germany -- Regional Health Command Europe is making steady progress in its efforts to offer COVID-19 vaccinations to the military community in Europe’s adolescent population, aged 12-17.
Since the arrival of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 on May 18, RHCE medical treatment facilities have administered more than 5,000 doses of the vaccine to adolescents across the European theater.
“The Emergency Use Authorization for the Pfizer vaccine now includes adolescents from 12-17, and last week we received a limited supply of Pfizer vaccine specifically for that population,” said Col. Scott Mower, the force health protection officer for RHCE. “We kicked off our first vaccination events in Bavaria last week, and we’ve continued with a mix of vaccination events at our clinics and Department of Defense Activity-Europe schools. Our goal is to provide a variety of opportunities for all of our adolescent population to get vaccinated.”
Mower says the European military community has already received enough vaccine for the 12-17 year old population, but that parents should make appointments for their adolescents soon.
“We have already received both first and second doses for all of our 12-17 year olds here in theater, so we should have plenty of vaccine available,” Mower said. “However, we strongly encourage everyone to get vaccinated as quickly as possible to help protect your family, your friends and your community.”
Appointments are required for the Pfizer adolescent events and Mower says the easiest way to find and register for an appointment is to check your clinic’s web or Facebook page. You can also visit www.tricare.mil/vaccineappointments.
“Scheduling appointments helps us know how much vaccine to make available for each event and helps us prevent vaccine spoilage,” Mower said. “We have tried to schedule events around parents’ work schedules, to ensure they can attend vaccination events with their adolescents.”
Similar to the Moderna vaccine, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine requires two doses to reach maximum effectiveness. While the Moderna vaccine doses are administered 28 days apart, the second Pfizer vaccine should be administered 21 days after the first.
“Our clinics are scheduling vaccine appointments at the time of the first vaccine,” Mower said. “Pay attention to the instructions given at your vaccination appointment so you know what to expect and when you need to return for the second shot.”
Mower says that in addition to vaccination events for adolescents, there is plenty of COVID vaccine available at Army MTFs through adult vaccination events.
“We have plenty of appointments available for adults who want to be vaccinated, so I’d encourage any adults who haven’t been vaccinated to make an appointment or just walk in to any of those events and get vaccinated.”
To date, Army medical treatment facilities in Europe have administered over 100,000 vaccine doses and fully vaccinated nearly 60,000 people in military communities across Europe, according to Mower.
“We are well on our way to achieving our goal to offer at least one dose to every member of the Army military community by the first week of June,” Mower said. “Everyone who wants to be vaccinated should be fully vaccinated by the middle of July."
Mower says that as more and more people get vaccinated, the numbers of COVID cases continue to fall.
“Getting vaccinated not only protects you, but it helps protect your family, your battle buddy, your unit and your community,” said Mower. “In addition, our host nations and the United States are making it easier for vaccinated people to travel, eat at restaurants, shop in stores and participate in other activities, so I’d encourage everyone to get vaccinated as soon as possible.”