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Pentagon eases COVID-19 travel restrictions

Pentagon eases COVID-19 travel restrictions
The Pentagon announced a lifting of travel restrictions between bases this week as it works to vaccinate U.S. service members and families from the COVID-19 virus. Photo by Maj. Robert Fellingham/U.S. Army

March 17 (UPI) -- Travel restrictions between U.S. military bases, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, were reduced this week, the Defense Department said.

Eight bases lifted travel restrictions while two had restrictions reinstated, meaning that 131 of 271, or 57%, of U.S. military installations around the world are operating without travel restrictions.

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A Pentagon guidance memorandum on Tuesday indicates that civilians and service members can travel between bases meeting criteria, including availability of essential services, quality control assurances for packing and moving, and "favorable health care conditions."

The Defense Department also announced an expansion on Wednesday of its digital database tracking COVID-19 vaccinations.

The database, known as MassVax, is an element of MHS Genesis, a new electronic health record for the Military Health System which integrates inpatient and outpatient data to connect medical information, including those relating to COVID-19 vaccinations.

"MassVax is designed to help us quickly record who gave what vaccine, as well as when and where it was given," commented Air Force Col. [Dr.] Thomas Cantilina, Defense Health Agency chief health informatics officer.

"Additionally, and more importantly, MHS Genesis and its MassVax capability have enhanced safety and efficiency at our COVID-19 vaccine sites, through its ability to provide clinicians with patient data related to drug and allergy interactions," Cantilina said.

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As of March 5, 84 percent of vaccines received by the Defense Department, accounting for 1.3 million doses, have been administered at 335 military installations, the announcement om Wednesday added.

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