Naval Medical Center at MCB Camp Lejeune rolls out with COVID-19 vaccinations

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (WNCT) – Santa made a special delivery to Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune over the federal holiday. The Naval Medical Center on base received Pfizer COVID-19 vaccinations.

Base officials say they are not at liberty to discuss how many vaccinations they received or administered, but people did start getting their doses on Monday.

Vaccination distribution is being based off the Department of Defense’s plan that mirrors the CDC’s. People who are at high risk of exposure to the coronavirus, Phase 1-A will be first in line for the vaccine. The list includes EMS personnel, fire and police departments, and hospital staff.

Capt. Michael Sullivan, the center’s public health emergency officer, made the decision to get the COVID shot to prevent from spreading the virus.

“We can break the cycle of transmission, improve everybody’s health and get back to a normal way of living rather than doing everything we’re doing now against the surge in COVID cases,” said Sullivan.

He rates the COVID-19 shot between a flu shot and a tetanus booster, regarding the soreness in his arm. But the small discomfort is nothing compared to what his patients could deal with if they contract the virus.

“So I see a lot of patients who have asthma or other chronic medical conditions and the last thing any provider ever wants to do is to exacerbate someone’s underlying medical conditions by giving them a vaccine preventable infection,” said Sullivan.

Vaccinations are voluntary, but base officials are strongly encouraging people to get their doses.

Capt. Reginald Ewing said, “the community is only as strong as the health of the community.”

Personnel deploying within three months outside the country and all other staff deemed critically essential are in the next phase.

As of Tuesday morning, doctors report there are not patients in their COVID unit.