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Fox News received nothing but new data from an online survey of military families, which found that there have been some improvements in those involved in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine since December. This first survey, conducted six months ago, found that half were hesitant.
Now 71% of the troops surveyed say they have received the vaccine or are planning to do so. Only 39% of spouses on active duty report getting vaccinated – which could be a problem as hundreds of thousands of troops and their families plan to move to new bases this summer.
If the 600,000 soldiers and their families are not vaccinated before their summer move, they could be a vector to spread the disease, as happened during the 1918 pandemic. The virus traveled from camp to camp and across the Atlantic with military personnel, and at the height of American military involvement in the September through November 1918 war, 20% to 40% of US Army and Navy personnel fell ill with influenza and pneumonia.
Blue Star Families, a non-profit veteran and military family, and COVID Collaborative, who conducted the survey, made the following recommendations to the Pentagon:
● Choice: 66% of active duty members report that choosing the type of vaccine increases the likelihood of receiving a vaccination.
● Guarantee time off: 22% of active duty members reported having difficulty finding an appointment that fits their schedule.
● Increasing information for military-affiliated spouses: 30% of active-duty spouses are unsure whether the vaccine is available to them.
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“The ability to let people choose between Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson makes a difference for people,” said Kathy Roth-Douquet, CEO of BlueStar Families. “The second was to make it part of their work week. A lot of the military think their job is very important. They worry about losing that day if they get the vaccine.”
The spouses of the seconded service members have their own concerns and cannot afford a day off when they are caring for children alone.
Regarding the troops, “If your commander can say, ‘You have the time to both get the vaccine and recover because I don’t want to lose you for two weeks or more if you are sick.’ that helps, “explained Roth-Douquet.
Jenny Akin, an Army wife, was among the new poll researchers. She hesitated herself because she was pregnant. She was then convinced to get the shot.
“I just got my second vaccine yesterday,” Akin said. “And I really stopped by when the FDA came out and helped pregnant women get the vaccine.”
The Pentagon inaugurated vaccination eligibility for Tier 2 recipients – most of the young healthy armed forces – on April 19. At this point, only 37% of active duty members had received at least one dose. By May 19, 58% of all service members had received a dose – a significant improvement, according to a senior defense official.
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A new poster across the Pentagon provides a new incentive for the COVID recordings so those who are fully vaccinated can take off their masks. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin wants the vaccine to remain voluntary.
“I chose the vaccine for a number of reasons,” said Nick Palmisciano, a former Army infantry officer who founded the Ranger Up clothing company. “I’ve never really worried about myself because of my age range and relative health, but I know a lot of people who are immunocompromised and I never want to be the person who inadvertently passes the virus on to someone.”
Forty percent of U.S. Marines on active duty say they will not receive the COVID vaccine.
Palmisciano explained the concerns of some troops.
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“One of the big problems people have with the military and veteran community right now is the general lack of confidence when the government is involved,” Palmisciano told Fox News. “Whether you used to talk about the anthrax vaccine that caused problems or burned pits, or all of those things that kind of military uses as guinea pigs.”
This former combat veteran has just received his second COVID vaccine and is working hard to convince other troops and veterans why they should do the same – for god and country.