Pentagon draft list prioritizes medical personnel, senior leaders in vaccine rollout: report

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The Pentagon has a draft list of the first groups set to receive a coronavirus vaccine, with health care workers in the lead, followed by and top Pentagon leaders and military units, CNN reported.

The Department of Defense (DOD) has released few details on when a COVID-19 vaccine would be distributed among service members. 

Though Trump administration officials are drawing up plans to prioritize how many vaccines each department is allocated, it’s unknown where the Pentagon falls in the order, top DOD spokesman Jonathan Hoffman told reporters late last month.

The uncertain number leaves the Pentagon needing to decide who will receive the vaccine first, with Hoffman noting that the federal government was broadly looking to first vaccinate health care workers and other essential personnel. 

Two defense officials familiar with the Pentagon’s draft list said the top officials likely to receive the vaccine first are Defense Secretary Christopher Miller and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley. 

The Pentagon did not respond to a request for comment on the draft. 

The list, which is divided into three “phases” and several subphases, places “health care providers, health care support, emergency services and public safety personnel” and Armed Forces retirement home residents in the first phase, according to CNN.

In-patient health care and support personnel are in the next level, as are National Guard and Reserve personnel on active duty supporting COVID-19 response efforts. 

“Critical National Capabilities” are next on the list, including senior leaders and elite military units, nuclear deterrence forces, the Special Operations Command national mission force, and the Cyber Command national mission force.

Personnel preparing to deploy within the next three months fall below that, followed by “other critical and essential defense department personnel,” including staff working in Defense Department schools, child and youth services, and food handlers on military installations. 

There is hope that highly effective vaccines created by Pfizer and the German pharmaceutical firm BioNTech and by Moderna will win approval from federal regulators in the coming days, but distribution challenges mean it will still be months until the bulk of Americans get access to either. 

The coronavirus has killed more than 282,000 people in the U.S. so far, with an average of nearly 200,000 new confirmed cases a day over the last week, according to The COVID Tracking Project, run by a group of independent researchers. More than 2,200 people a day have died on an average during that period.

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