CNMI-born sailor receives COVID-19 vaccine

Posted on Apr 26 2021

Petty Officer 3rd Class Juan Carlos Besid, a divisional yeoman, receives his first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

PORTSMOUTH, Va.—A sailor from Saipan in the Northern Marianas Islands who is serving aboard one of the world’s most powerful warships is one of more than 1,300 sailors to get the COVID-19 vaccine last week as the ship prepares to get back underway.

Serving aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), Petty Officer 3rd Class Juan Carlos Besid, a divisional yeoman, received his first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, which is voluntary for all military members.

“I took the vaccine to ensure that I am safe around my family,” said Besid. “My parents are 63 and 65 years old[and] I want to be able to protect them as much as possible.”

The vaccine has proven to reduce the peril it places upon the mission and has been proven to be safe and effective.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to provide these vaccines to our sailors onboard,” said Capt. Kavon Hakimzadeh, Truman’s commanding officer. “It allows us a direct avenue to help defeat this pandemic and strengthen the USS Harry S. Truman team.”

According to Truman’s nurse, Lt. Kimberly Kozlowski, a Saline, Michigan, sailor, there is an uptick in optimism to receive the vaccine because people are using the right resources to get the right information.

“Great coordination was displayed given the fact that more sailors wanted to receive the vaccine and we were able to provide doses for all those who wanted them,” she said.

More than half of the personnel on Truman have now received at least the first dose of the vaccine, while some have received their second dose.

Those who have received the first dose of the vaccine can expect to receive the second dose within the next few weeks.

Truman is nearing the completion of its Extended Carrier Incremental Availability period in Norfolk Naval Shipyard and is expected to certify as a ready carrier this summer. (MCS Seaman Christopher Suarez/USS Harry S. Truman)

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