The top two Devil Dogs went public with their COVID-19 vaccines in the hopes of encouraging Marines to take the vaccine when offered.
The vaccine is being rolled out in the Marine Corps in multiple phases, in line with Department of Defense policy.
First on the list were civilian and uniformed health care works, emergency services and public personnel.
Phase 1b.1 of the plan has the Corps distributing the vaccine to “critical national capabilities,” including Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Troy Black and Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. David Berger.
The Moderna and Pfizer vaccine have both been approved through an expedited process for emergency use by the Food and Drug administration and are being distributed through the country.
The COVID-19 vaccine will remain voluntary for Marines until it receives its full approval by the FDA.
Though the vaccine is not fully approved, there is high confidence in the vaccines being safe. Both vaccines had their trials observed by “fully independent safety monitoring boards, and safety data are continuously reviewed by the FDA and expert panels,” the website for Johns Hopkins medicine said.
“So far, none of the vaccine trials have reported any serious safety concerns.”
Both Berger and Black took to social media at the end of December to share pictures of them receiving the vaccine the hopes of encouraging all Marines to take it, Maj. Eric Flanagan told Marine Corps times.
“I received my #COVID19 vaccination today,” Berger said in his tweet.
“As the vaccine becomes available, I encourage all Marines and their families to get the shot to slow the spread of the virus,” he added.
Flanagan said he did not know which vaccine Berger and Black took, just saying “whichever vaccine was available at Walter Reed.”
The Marines were not the only public figures to take the vaccine publicly, with politicians from Vice President Mike Pence receiving the vaccine on live television and New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez opting to receive hers on Instagram live.
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday, Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville and Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy also took to Twitter to announce they took the vaccine.
“I don’t ask Soldiers to do something I am not willing to do myself. I encourage everyone to get the COVID-19 vaccination, so we can continue to fight the virus together,” McConville said in his tweet.
Black wanted to reiterate that even though some Marines already have received their first vaccination, with others soon following, the Corps still expects Marines to wear masks and adhere to the other protocols developed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“While wearing masks and social distancing remain necessary measures, I encourage all eligible Marines and family members to protect themselves and their communities by receiving the vaccine when available. Semper Fidelis,” the top enlisted Marine said.
Black and Berger later released a video further encouraging Marines to receive the vaccine.
“Marines in the coming months you will be offered the opportunity to receive your COVID-19 vaccination,” Berger said in the video.
“Sergeant major and I have received the vaccine and we have confidence in its effectiveness and its safety. We are encourage everybody who is presented the opportunity to take it, this improves our readiness and the ability to respond when the nation needs us.”