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Pentagon closing majority of COVID-19 mass vaccination sites

Pentagon closing majority of COVID-19 mass vaccination sites
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The Pentagon by the end of Tuesday will shutter all but five of the COVID-19 mass vaccination sites it opened alongside the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as the demand for the shot slows, according to the Department of Defense’s (DOD) top spokesman.

Earlier this year, as many as 35 mass vaccination sites were operated by thousands of active-duty and National Guard troops, but the number has since dropped to eight, with three of those locations to close by Tuesday’s end, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby told reporters. 

The vaccine centers, in coordination with FEMA and state and local officials, “will be mission-complete or will begin reducing personnel as the sites reassess the size of the DOD vaccination support teams needed,” Kirby said.

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The sites have helped administer more than 16 million vaccines, he added.

About 454 military personnel were still working at FEMA sites in in New Jersey, Oklahoma, Oregon, Minnesota, Kentucky, Ohio, Colorado and Louisiana, with the latter three locations to wrap up operations on Tuesday.

The Pentagon and FEMA first set up the vaccination sites in February as the Biden administration raced to administer millions of shots to areas hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed nearly 600,000 people in the U.S. 

Demand for the shots peaked in April, with almost 3.4 million given in the United States per day, but it has since slowed to an average of about 1 million doses per day.

Now, only 63.7 percent of American adults have received at least one dose, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.