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Pentagon spokesman John Kirby. Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The Pentagon has approved the deployment of 20 additional COVID-19 vaccination teams to aid inoculation efforts across the U.S., spokesperson John Kirby said Friday.

The big picture: The authorization brings the number of approved vaccination teams to 25, with a total of about 4,700 service members, Kirby told reporters.

  • Only one team of 222 service members has deployed so far. Those troops, which begin work on Monday, will help a federally run vaccination site at California State University.
  • The Pentagon will soon have more details on when and where the four other previously approved teams will be deployed, Kirby said.
  • The vaccination teams "are being organized to help FEMA-identified sites and will be deployed as requirements evolve," he added.

Worth noting: FEMA's full request was for 10,000 troops to be deployed to 100 vaccination sites.

  • “I want to stress the very deliberate and phased approach we’re taking — working in lockstep with FEMA and other federal authorities … What we’re trying to do is to be ready when we’re needed.," Kirby said.

Go deeper: Biden blasts Trump's vaccination efforts

Go deeper

Feb 11, 2021 - Health

Biden administration purchases 200 million additional vaccine doses

President Biden in the Oval Office of the White House on Feb. 11. Photo: Doug Mills/The New York Times/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The federal government purchased an additional 200 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine, President Biden announced Thursday during a tour of the National Institutes of Health.

The big picture: Biden said the U.S. is on track to have enough supply of the vaccine to inoculate 300 million Americans by the end of July. That comes out to roughly 600 million doses, boosting "supply in the United States by 50 percent," as first reported by the Washington Post.

Feb 12, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden blasts Trump's COVID vaccination efforts: "Did not do his job"

President Biden. Photo: Oliver Contreras/Sipa/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden on Thursday slammed his predecessor for "not doing his job in getting ready for the massive challenge of vaccinating hundreds of millions of Americans."

Driving the news: Biden's remarks at the National Institutes of Health came not long after his administration signed final contracts with Pfizer and Moderna to purchase an additional 200 million doses of the coronavirus vaccines.

Why vaccine production is taking so long

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

COVID-19 vaccine makers are under intense pressure to rev up production, but the scale of the challenge is unprecedented — and the speed of production is limited.

Why it matters: Even with help from the federal government and outside companies, vaccine-making is a complex, time-consuming biological process. That limits how quickly companies like Pfizer and Moderna can accelerate their output even during a crisis.

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