OKINAWA, Japan, –
As thousands of service members on Okinawa are receiving the COVID-19 vaccination, they are given a sticker stating ‘I got my COVID-19 vaccine because…’ This personal memento signifies their unique reason to receive the vaccine.
Many service members with families on Okinawa are receiving the vaccine to keep their families safe.
“I feel it is my duty to get the vaccine to stop the spread of COVID-19,” explains Staff Sgt. Felicia White, a mother of one who just received the final COVID-19 booster.
The U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa is one of two exclusive locations providing the COVID-19 vaccination to eligible beneficiaries across Okinawa. Due to the demand of the vaccine, the naval hospital ran out for a few days in between vaccine resupplies.
“I got the COVID-19 vaccine for my son,” said White, a supply chief with Camp Kinser Post Office and native to El Paso, Texas. “It has gotten to the point where I don't want to leave him with someone who hasn't received the vaccine.”
She enjoyed traveling as a family before the pandemic. Worldwide travel restrictions put a halt to the hobby that was important to her.
“If Marines want to protect themselves and the people that they love, they should receive the vaccination." Staff Sgt. Felicia White, a mother of one who just received the final COVID-19 booster
“I want travel freedom so we can get back to family trips,” said White. “Before the pandemic, we would always go on camping trips and vacations, but now we haven’t been able to do that for the past year.”
White explains that the lack of family trips was affecting her son. White and her husband came up with a unique way to bring the fun home and safe.
“We have a tent that we put up in the living room and we simulate that we are camping,” said White. “We drink hot chocolate, play a plastic fishing game, and sleep in sleeping bags to bring those family moments and joy to our son.”
In addition to being a mother, White is in charge of keeping records and tracking of all supplies with Camp Kinser Post Office, as well as being a sponsor for new Marines to the island. She explains that she wants everyone to get the vaccine as soon as possible.
“If Marines want to protect themselves and the people that they love, they should receive the vaccination,” says White.
For more information regarding the USNHO vaccination guidelines and services please visit https://www.iiimef.marines.mil/Coronavirus-information/COVID-19-Vaccine-Information/