The U.S. Naval Academy will administer the COVID-19 vaccine as early as this week.
The Department of the Navy gave the Annapolis, Maryland-based academy the go-ahead to administer vaccines to midshipmen, with the first doses expected this Thursday.
Summer training programs are set to begin in three- to four-week blocks starting May 15; the academy was forced to cancel most of last year’s summer programs due to the pandemic.
“The Navy has prioritized vaccinating the operational forces first, and they’re developing very safe and healthy bubbles,” Superintendent Vice Adm. Sean Buck said in a news release Tuesday.
“For midshipmen to participate in summer training programs to meet Navy requirements, we need to begin vaccinating them now.”
Faculty, staff and employees still fall under Navy population schema 1b and will continue to get vaccinated concurrently with midshipmen as doses are made available.
COVID-19 vaccines with emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration remain voluntary for active duty members, including midshipmen, but may become mandatory in the future if a vaccine is formally licensed.