The Navy is nixing the pre-deployment restriction of movement (ROM) sequester for vaccinated sailors.
“With more than a year operating in the COVID environment, we have gained significant expertise in mitigating and preventing the spread of COVID-19,” Vice Adm. Phil Sawyer, deputy chief of naval operations for operations, plans and strategy, said in a Navy news release. “Now, with vaccines and CDC scientific data, we are able to relax many of the procedures we put in place and still provide for the health protection of the force.”
In addition to eliminating ROM, naval component commands also have the ability to loosen some health protection measures in order to conduct operations in a more “realistic and unimpeded shipboard setting.”
Those who are unvaccinated must still continue to complete a 14-day ROM sequester prior to deploying — along with a test-in and test-out to guarantee they are entering a COVID-free bubble before deploying.
“The science is pretty clear, vaccinations are key to best protecting our Sailors,” Sawyer said in the release. “The more Sailors that are vaccinated, the better for them, their families, the Navy and the Nation.”
The Navy previously eased some COVID-19 restrictions for vaccinated sailors. The service announced in February that completely vaccinated crews would not be subjected to ROM sequesters and could “relax health protection measures aimed at mitigating the spread of the novel coronavirus,” according to a NAVADMIN message.
“For crews who are 100 percent immunized … modeling shows the risk of infection is extremely low,” the NAVADMIN said.
The February guidance also said vaccinated sailors were authorized to participate in port calls at overseas U.S. ports such as Yokosuka, Japan, and Rota, Spain, among other locations. Those immunized sailors also were not required to quarantine ahead of deployments if their final vaccine dose was issued in the past three months.
“In short, fully immunized sailors will allow our Navy to begin to unwind the limitations that have been placed on our sailors at sea,” the NAVADMIN said. “The higher percentage of the crew immunized, the less risk there is to a widespread outbreak.”
The Navy said Monday that no fully immunized sailor or Marine has been hospitalized for COVID-19. According to Department of Defense figures, more than 232,000 sailors and 78,000 Marines are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.