VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Seaman Paul Grabis Jr., a Lusby, Maryland, native, joined sailors from Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit (MDSU) 2 in departing from Virginia Beach, Virginia, to assist with the state-run, federally-supported COVID-19 vaccination efforts on the East Coast. This took place on February 19, 2021.
In all, 48 MDSU personnel will provide support to the vaccination teams in New York.
Grabis is a 2018 Patuxent High School graduate and currently serves as a Navy hospitalman.
“I am a dental tech,” said Grabis. “But I was first trained as a medical corpsman.”
Grabis joined the Navy for the opportunities the military offers.
“I joined to help those in need and to see the world,” said Grabis.
Grabis is certainly helping those in need now by assisting with the COVID-19 efforts.
“This is truly a whole-of-government effort as we are working hand-in-hand with federal, state and local agencies to administer COVID vaccinations,” said Cmdr. Trevor Ritland, commanding officer of MDSU 2. “My team is ready to fulfill the critical role in providing vaccinations for every American who wishes to receive one.”
Grabis is contributing to the effort by distributing vaccines.
“I am a vaccinator,” said Grabis. “I currently have seen over 1,000 patients since we first started this vaccination center six weeks ago.”
In support of the whole-of-government effort, the Navy is providing a 139-person team, including the 48 sailors from MDSU 2, to support the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the national vaccination effort at a Community Vaccination Center in New York. The teams are made up of approximately 65-percent Navy health care professionals and approximately 35-percent support staff.
Though there are many opportunities for sailors to earn recognition in their command, community and careers during their service, Grabis considers participating in the COVID-19 vaccination effort to be the proudest moment so far.
“My proudest accomplishment is making people feel at ease when getting the vaccine,” added Grabis. “Many people are scared of needles or are nervous about the vaccine, but I have the chance to help make them feel better.”