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Vaccinated sailors won't have to isolate before deployment, Navy says

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Vaccinated sailors won't have to isolate before deployment, Navy says
The Navy announced this week that sailors vaccinated against COVID-19 will not have to self-isolate before deployment. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

May 25 (UPI) -- Sailors who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 won't have to self-isolate before deployment, the Navy announced this week.

Sailors who haven't been vaccinated will still have conduct a 14-day restriction of movement sequester, where they test in and test out prior to deployment -- a protocol the Navy instituted last spring.

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"With more than a year operating in the COVID environment, we have gained significant expertise in mitigating and preventing the spread of COVID-19," Vice Adm. Phil Sawyer, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Operations, Plans and Strategy, said in a Navy press release.

"Now with vaccines and CDC scientific data, we are able to relax many of the procedures we put in place and still provide for the health protection of the force," Sawyer said.

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Commanding officers can also allow immunized individuals making port calls in overseas ports like Guam, Bahrain or Rota to take advantage of base services like gyms, laundry facilities and other base amenities.

"The science is pretty clear, vaccinations are key to best protecting our sailors. The more sailors that are vaccinated, the better for them, their families, the Navy and the nation," Sawyer said.

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Earlier this month, CNN reported that at least three Army bases are offering incentives for soldiers to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, including reduced movement restrictions as well as additional days off and access to workout facilities on bases.

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According to the Navy's release, more than 230,000 sailors and Marines have been immunized against the novel coronavirus, and none of them have been hospitalized for COVID-19 to date.

The Pentagon has not been releasing vaccination numbers, but the Army Lt. Gen. Ronald Place, head of the Defense Health Agency, announced last week that more than 1.5 million people within the Department of Defense have been fully vaccinated, military.com reported.

Among active-duty military members, 58% had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as of May 19, according to Terry Adirim, acting assistant secretary of defense for health affairs.

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Of those 1.5 million, there have been 1,640 "breakthrough" cases of COVID-19 among vaccinated department members, including 24 cases that required hospitalization, Place said.

According to numbers posted to the Pentagon's website Monday, 3.5 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine had been administered within the DoD, with 760,249 service members and 241,371 DoD civilian employees being fully vaccinated.

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As of Monday, the Pentagon had recorded 294,812 total cases of COVID-19, including 4,085 hospitalizations, 351 deaths and 282,909 recovered.

Of those, 194,345 were active-duty military and 38,726 were in the Navy.

A year in pandemic: How COVID-19 changed the world

National Institutes of Health official Dr. Anthony Fauci (C) speaks about the coronavirus during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, D.C. Health and Human Services Secretary Alexander Azar (L) announced that the United States is declaring the virus a public health emergency and issued a federal quarantine order of 14 days for 195 Americans. Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI | License Photo

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