Fort Drum requires proof of COVID-19 vaccination, negative test for official visitors


Paul Steven Ghiringhelli
Sign welcomes motorists entering Fort Drum at the Iraqi Freedom Gate. To avoid rush-hour delays this summer at this gate, installation officials urge commuters to use the Mount Belvedere Gate, accessible from Watertown by Route 283 or from Interstate 81 by Route 342, or the 45th Infantry Division Gate, roughly two miles south of U.S. Route 11 traveling on Route 26 South.

FORT DRUM, N.Y. (WWTI) — On November 1, Fort Drum officials announced changes to the access control policy.

Fort Drum Public Affairs confirmed that official visitors are now required to either show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test result upon arrival at Fort Drum.

However, according to officials from Fort Drum Directorate of Emergency Services, this will affect a small percentage of individuals who normally access the military base, more specifically, those who required a local access badge or a day pass to enter a Department of Defense building.

This mainly apply to Non-DoD contractors who have work requirements within federal facilities, Gold Star Family Members and Friends of the North Country badge holders. These individuals will be required to show proof of vaccination and verify it at the Visitor Control Center with the application for a local access badge or day pass.

Official visitors are required to complete Form 3150, which they will maintain when visiting a federal facility as proof that they were vetted for vaccine compliance. Those who currently possess a local access badge will be required to update it before November 19, 2021.

Fort Drum added that official visitors who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19, or decline to show proof of their vaccination status will be required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test administered no earlier than 72 hours before visiting the military base.

Officials confirmed that the changes do not apply to Soldiers and their family members, civilian employees, retirees or visitors to on-post residences. Changes also do not affect contractors who work off-post and do not require access to federal buildings, including delivery and transportation services such as Uber, DoorDash and moving companies.

“Basically, people with DoD identification cards (Common Access Cards) will not be affected by the update to our force health protection measures at the gates,” Fort Drum DES Deputy Director Mike Thomas said in a press release. “It does not affect people who are going to the health care or pharmacy facilities, recreational facilities, the commissary, the Exchange and places like that.”

Additionally, regarding the upcoming holiday season, guests of Fort Drum community members will also not be required to show proof of vaccination for base access. This falls under the Trusted Traveler Program.

“The current Trusted Traveler Program is in effect for Soldiers and family members bringing guests on post,” Thomas added. “Anyone requiring a day pass can do so at the Visitor Control Center, and they can call (315) 772-8585 if they have any questions.”

All Department of Defense employees, both active duty and civilian, will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by late November. Earlier in the fall, Fort Drum reported a nearly 80% soldier vaccination rate. This was after the mandatory military vaccination process began on the base on September 6.

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