Public health officials want to provide the COVID-19 vaccine to a high percentage of people in our community as soon as possible; unfortunately, that effort has been slowed by insufficient vaccine supply, both in the DoD and at state and county levels. Personnel at NAS Patuxent River who wish to obtain the vaccine have had questions regarding their eligibility to receive it based on their duties as DoD “essential workers,” and the following information will attempt to clarify.
Are active-duty military members or
DoD civilian employees working at Pax
River eligible to receive the vaccine from
St. Mary’s County Health Department
(SMCHD) mass vaccination clinics?
Because the DoD receives its own allocation of COVID-19 vaccines for active-duty and DoD civilian employees, and has a DoD vaccine prioritization schema that differs from the state of Maryland, active-duty military members and DoD civilians are NOT eligible, at this time, for local SMCHD vaccine clinics based [solely] on their occupation, according to the SMCHD website. However, if a DoD civilian does meet local eligibility criteria due to their age, or a medical condition — and is a St. Mary’s County resident — they are eligible and may register for a local SMCHD vaccination clinic.
“Please do not register for the vaccine in the county as a Phase 1C [occupational member group] DoD worker, as the St. Mary’s County Health Department will not provide vaccine to DoD personnel who will have vaccine provided by the DoD for prioritized occupations,” said Pax River’s Public Health Emergency Officer Dr. Patricia Bray. “If you are eligible in the county because of other employment in the county, because you are 65 or older, or have an eligible medical condition, then please do sign up for vaccine in the community.”
The location of your job matters. While military members and DoD civilians who work within Pax River’s fence line are not “occupational member group” eligible for the county vaccination clinic, contract employees may be eligible, even if currently assigned to a contract at Pax River. Because contract companies are located on county property and their employees are not eligible for certain public health services at Pax River, their work-related vaccine eligibility is associated with the county where their company is located.
Find eligibility details under Frequently Asked Questions by visiting the county’s website at https://smchd.org/wp-content/cache/page_enhanced/smchd.org/covid-19-vaccine-faqs/_index.html_gzip
Who is the Pax River Clinic
Currently, the DoD — including Naval Health Clinic Patuxent River (NHCPR) — is vaccinating Phase 1B of the DoD priority listing. DoD Phase 1B personnel include those assigned to national critical capabilities, personnel deploying to locations outside the U.S., and frontline essential personnel. Additionally, NHCPR is now also vaccinating TRICARE beneficiaries age 65 and older.
NHCPR does not control the vaccine supply and currently has a limited supply on hand. Vaccine supply and distribution for workforce protection is specified by a Department of Navy COVID Task Force that determines vaccine prioritization for all Navy commands and messages each command via Vaccine Tasking Order.
Active-duty personnel, DoD civilians, retirees, and all beneficiaries interested in determining their place in line for a COVID-19 vaccine should check the DoD vaccination schema, which can be found at https://www.defense.gov/portals/1/Spotlight/2020/coronavirus/vaccine-availability/SCHEMA.pdf , and ask their command leadership where they fall.
For the most current information, follow NHCPR’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/NHCPaxRiver. The page is updated daily and clearly states who the Clinic is vaccinating.
How can I make a vaccine appointment
at the Clinic?
If you are DoD personnel, your employment-based eligibility will be provided via your chain of command when authorized by a Vaccine Tasking Order. A representative of your command will be a liaison with the Clinic for making appointments.
If you are a beneficiary over the age of 75, the Clinic should have already contacted you. If you are a member of the schema the Clinic is currently seeing and have not yet been offered the vaccine, call the Immunization Clinic directly at (301) 757-2142 for an appointment. If an appointment is not immediately available, you will be called when one becomes available.
Do I need to tell anyone that I’ve been
vaccinated in the community?
“It is very important that individuals vaccinated in the community maintain their COVID-19 vaccine record,” said NHCPR’s Director of Public Health Dr. Akram Sadaka. “They may need to provide future documentation that they’ve been vaccinated , such as for travel purposes. Also TRICARE beneficiaries who receive vaccine from a civilian source are advised to update their TRICARE medical record with vaccine documentation at the first opportunity.”
To find available community vaccine appointments and keep abreast of COVID-19 news in your county of residence, visit www.smchd.org in St. Mary’s; www.calverthealth.org in Calvert; and www.charlescountyhealth.org in Charles. For information within the State of Maryland, visit https://coronavirus.maryland.gov/ .