Naval Health Clinic Patuxent River will be hosting mass vaccination clinics Sept. 8-17 to meet the new requirement that all service members be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The clinics will vaccinate Sailors at commands throughout Naval Air Station Patuxent River who still need to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The health clinic is gearing up to meet that demand under the ambitious timeline required by the Secretary of Defense.

“We exist to provide Force Health Protection,” said Capt. David Thomas, commanding officer of NHC Patuxent River. “Protecting our force against this global pandemic is our top priority. Vaccinating our service members against COVID-19 helps them continue to do the important jobs this country needs us to do. Not only is the vaccine mandatory, it is also the safest, best way to protect ourselves, our families and our communities against this deadly disease.”

The COVID-19 vaccination clinics will be for active duty and reserve members and will take place from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. each weekday with a break for lunch. An appointment is required and can be made at https://informatics-stage.health.mil/COVAX/.

While there will be enough appointments to vaccinate everyone, daily appointment slots will be limited and should be reserved as soon as possible, said Lt. Peter Howell, department head of the clinic’s Medical Home Port. The NHC Patuxent River staff have been working tirelessly to put the infrastructure, manning and supplies in place since the Secretary of Defense announced the mandate on Aug. 24.

“We’re working hard and we’re ready for this important mission,” Howell said. “Our goal is to vaccinate all of our service members as quickly and safely as possible while maintaining existing clinic services.”

Once Sailors make their appointment online, they will be prompted to fill out a DD 207, which should be printed and brought to their appointment along with their identification. On the day of their appointment, they will report to Medical Home Port located at 47149 Buse Road, Building 1370, to be screened and receive their shot. Face masks are required inside the clinic.

Even though adverse reactions are extremely rare, clinic staff observe patients for at least 15 minutes after their shot as a safety precaution. The most common side effects are minor and include soreness at the injection site, tiredness, headache and chills.

The vaccine is free and the entire appointment should take less than 30 minutes, said Howell.

“We want to make this process as quick and easy as possible,” he said. “But we need our Sailors to do their part by making their appointment now.”

The second dose of the vaccine will be administered 21 days later. NHC Patuxent River will host additional vaccination clinics at that time.

The clinic is providing the Pfizer vaccine, which is the only COVID-19 vaccine to receive full approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Service members who prefer to be vaccinated off-base must make their own arrangements and provide documentation to their command.

NHC Patuxent River began offering COVID-19 vaccinations in December to service members, retirees and their families. Doses and appointments are still available for anyone who wants to be vaccinated. Patients do not have to be enrolled at the clinic to be eligible.

For additional information, visit paxriver.tricare.mil.