Camp Lejeune begins vaccinating younger, vulnerable populations

Military bases are following federal guidelines on the vaccine rollout, which is why they’ve been able to move ahead of the rest of the state.
Published: Mar. 1, 2021 at 8:21 PM EST
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CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (WITN) - Tri-Care, or military health insurance, eligible populations are moving the vaccination process along on Camp Lejeune.

Naval Medical Center on base began offering the vaccine to people 16, and older deemed high-risk populations Monday, as the rest of the state has yet to catch up.

“I have two elderly parents,” said Vivian Molina. “My mother is sick, so I am going to go travel to New York City to go see her.”

According to NBC News data, North Carolina ranks 28th in the country for vaccinations per capita and has not yet moved on to vaccinating high-risk populations.

“To me, the thing works,” said Ret. Chief Master-At-Arms Daniel Dickerson. “From what I see and what I hear. It’s always better to be cautious.”

North Carolina has made up some ground since it lagged behind nearly every other state in its vaccinations. Military bases can move on because they follow federal guidelines, not state ones.

“They let us know exactly who is considered in that high-risk population and the essential base workers,” said Commander Heather Kirk, the officer in charge of the vaccine rollout at Naval Medical Center. “We can ensure that if they do catch the disease, they’re having a shorter risk time of having those complications.”

It’s a promising sign for those who just got their vaccines that the end is almost in sight.

“I would rather be part of the declining part than be the one that’s at risk,” said Molina.

“It’s a pandemic, I think, that’s almost about over, to tell you the truth,” said Dickerson. “In my opinion.”

Naval Medical Center is administering first-dose vaccinations by appointment only at Wallace Creek Fitness Center but administering second doses by walk-in.

To make an appointment if you’re 65 and older, call 910-455-HELP or 910-455-4357. The hospital will contact people who are considered high-risk to schedule an appointment.

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