Pentagon approves over 1,000 personnel to help FEMA with COVID-19 vaccines
The Pentagon has authorized more than 1,000 active-duty service members to help the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) with its vaccination effort against COVID-19.
The 1,110 active-duty troops will be broken up into teams of 222 people to support five state vaccination sites, according to a Defense Department fact sheet released Friday.
White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients called the effort a “critical part of our all of government response.”
An initial group of 222 will be deployed to a site in California in the coming days, top Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby told reporters later on Friday.
“We expect that they’ll be able to get on site on or about the 15th of this month,” Kirby said, referring questions to FEMA as to the exact location.
The announcement comes after FEMA late last month asked the Pentagon to assist with President Biden’s goal to vaccinate 100 million people against the coronavirus in his first 100 days in office.
Among the possible solutions is sending up to 10,000 active-duty and National Guard forces to 100 vaccination sites across the country, though such a request is “still to be determined,” according to the Defense Department.
The teams approved thus far will be made up of personnel from across the military services, and include 80 vaccinators, 15 registered nurses, 57 clinical staff, 15 command and control and 55 general purpose, the fact sheet notes.
The Pentagon is still working with FEMA to determine what sites the other four teams will go to and in what order, Kirby said.
—Update at 3:50 p.m.
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