CFB Esquimalt rolls up sleeves for COVID-19 booster

Captain (Navy) Mark O’Donohue, Deputy Commander Canadian Fleet Pacific, receives his COVID-19 booster shot at the vaccination clinic held at the Wardroom, Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt, on Oct. 18. Photo: Sailor First Class Mike Goluboff, MARPAC Imaging Services.

Kateryna Bandura, 
Lookout Editor

With the fall season upon CFB Esquimalt, the Acting Base Surgeon urged members to visit the Canadian Forces annual flu/COVID booster immunization clinic.

“Influenza and SARS CoV-2 continue to present a risk to the general population and Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members. These respiratory viruses can be transmitted easily, especially in close quarters and indoors,” said Lieutenant (Navy) Michael Fulmore, Acting Base Surgeon at Canadian Forces Health Services Pacific (CFHS(P)).

The annual flu/COVID booster immunization clinic, operated by (CFHS(P)) healthcare professionals, offers flu shots and the approved Moderna Bivalent COVID-19 booster.

Lt(N) Fulmore said members could access either or both of the vaccines based on eligibility, and both are safe to be taken on the same day. Over 2,000 members were vaccinated last year; Lt(N) Fulmore anticipates the same for 2022.

“With the new COVID bivalent vaccine, we are hoping as many eligible people as possible will receive the vaccine,” he said.

Leading by example, Captain (Navy) Matthew Coates, Commander Naval Personnel and Training Group (NPTG), got his vaccine on Oct. 18.

“Despite a personal aversion to needles I got my vaccine booster today because I view it as a duty – not only to the health and well-being of my family and coworkers but to being part of the larger effort of getting beyond the impacts of COVID and contributing to the important business of reconstituting the Royal Canadian Navy,” Capt(N) Coates said.

He also encouraged others to get vaccinated.

Rear-Admiral (RAdm) Christopher Robinson, Commander Maritime Forces Pacific/Joint Task Force Pacific (MARPAC/JTFP), also joined the vaccine campaign.

“The Royal Canadian Navy has faced many challenges, including the most recent pandemic,” RAdm Robinson said. “By working together we can build the immunity we need to resume our lives and our work. We need to be ready to confront future challenges to Canada, and step one is rolling up our sleeves for the COVID-19 booster.”

The combined flu/COVID booster immunization clinic is open to all serving military members, both Regular and Reserve forces. Members are eligible to receive the COVID-19 booster by dropping in if it has been more than six months from their last COVID-19 vaccine or active COVID-19 infection. Shorter intervals can be considered case-by-case for medical or operational reasons.

The clinic is held at the CFB Esquimalt Wardroom, 1586 Esquimalt Road and will run all day Oct. 25–27,  Nov. 1–2, and Nov. 8-10. The clinic will be open 0800-1400 daily, including during lunch.

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