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PSNS & IMF begins COVID-19 vaccination roll out for workforce

By Max Maxfield, PSNS & IMF Public Affairs | Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility | Feb. 10, 2021

BREMERTON, Wash. —

Approximately 200 Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility personnel received the first-of-two Moderna COVID-19 vaccine shots Feb. 10, 2021, in the former Sam Adams Brewhouse on Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton, in what is expected to be a phased employee vaccination process.

The Shotex clinic is the result of a partnership among PSNS & IMF, Naval Base Kitsap, Carrier Strike Group 3 and Naval Hospital Bremerton. Carrier Strike Group 3 is in charge of allocating vaccine doses to local area commands, based on criteria from the Department of Defense. Other Navy commands in the area will also be sending Sailors, Navy civilian employees and contractors to the clinic for COVID-19 vaccinations.

“This clinic is a great partnership with Naval Hospital Bremerton, Navy Region Northwest, Carrier Strike Group 3 and Naval Facilities Command to get this location set up, to provide shuttles to the clinic, and to get our folks vaccinated at our worksite,” said Kimberly Rittenhouse, deputy executive director of PSNS & IMF. “That location is being staged to support two clinics, with one side for the first dose and one side for the second dose for when the supply chain supports two teams in our location.”

The PSNS & IMF vaccine recipients were all Radiological Emergency Response Organization responders or employees 75 years and older who comprise the initial part of Phase 1 of the command’s four-phase vaccination plan. Navy Region Northwest commands are following DOD’s phased plan for administering the vaccines, which was outlined in NAVADMIN 327/20.

States and counties throughout the U.S. are using a phased approach that often focuses on patient age and pre-existing health conditions that put them at higher risk of complications from a COVID-19 infection. The DOD phased plan focuses on maintaining combat readiness and commands’ abilities to accomplish their critical missions.

“Here in Bremerton, and at our detachments, our first wave of vaccinations will include four phases,” said Capt. Jip Mosman, commander, PSNS & IMF, in an All Hands message Jan. 20. “These four phases are aligned with DOD priorities and are based on ensuring PSNS & IMF can continue to maximize the mission, while minimizing the risk of spread.” 

According to Rittenhouse, the clinic plans to provide the second shot in the vaccination series around 28 days after the first shot is administered.

The second phase will focus those who perform high-risk work, both from an OSHA definition and/or because the work itself has significant consequences for improper execution. The third phase will include PSNS & IMF employees who possess a critical skill or fill a position necessary to complete the mission-critical work of the shipyard. The fourth phase will include personnel who have a specialty qualification solely executed in a depot-level activity, but the work occurs infrequently. 

“As we work our way through this wave, we will continue to learn and adjust,” Mosman said. “This flexibility will help as we plan for our second wave and work through every single employee who would like to volunteer. Administering this vaccine is a crucial step in our collective fight against the virus.”

Receiving the vaccine is completely voluntary for employees at PSNS & IMF. Leaders at all levels will be reaching out to employees to let them know when the vaccine is available for them. People will have the opportunity to opt-in later if they initially declined to receive the vaccine.

PSNS & IMF leaders have shared information about the COVID-19 vaccine from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as Navy Medicine with employees, using every available communication channel, to help them make an informed decision about getting the vaccine. 

The CDC has a wealth of information available about the COVID-19 vaccines being administered throughout the U.S. at www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/index.html.

“You are not required to get the vaccination,” said Mosman. “My hope is that you are able to spend time with the different resources and information we are making available regarding the vaccination. I want you all to make an informed decision that is right for you and your family. I know I personally plan to receive the vaccination. It’s a tangible way that I can help my family, friends, coworkers and our community move forward.” 

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