Feb 5, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Pentagon to deploy over 1,000 troops to support mass vaccination sites

Lloyd Austin with troops

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin with National Guard troops on Capitol Hill. Photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta-Pool/Getty Images

The Defense Department will send more than 1,000 active-duty military personnel to support mass coronavirus vaccination sites in states across the country, the White House COVID-19 response team announced on Friday.

Why it matters: The Pentagon approved a request from FEMA to provide military assistance for five vaccination centers as part of an effort to meet President Biden's goal of vaccinating 100 million people (with at least one dose) within his first 100 days in office.

Between the lines: FEMA's full request was for 10,000 troops to be deployed to 100 mass vaccination sites. It's unclear if or when this will happen.

Details: The first contingent of troops will arrive in California "within the next ten days to begin operations there around Feb. 15, with additional vaccination missions soon to follow," White House coronavirus adviser Andy Slavitt announced at a press briefing.

  • The military will eventually seek to administer as many as 450,000 vaccines a day, according to CNN.
  • The DOD will provide a press briefing Friday afternoon with more details.

The big picture: Slavitt also announced that "six more companies will surge manufacturing of at-home test kits, with the goal of — by summer — having millions of Americans being able to access at-home tests."

The bottom line: The Biden administration is engaging in a "whole-of-government" campaign to curb the coronavirus pandemic and get the country on the path to normalcy.

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