DOD Deploying More Teams to Help the National Vaccination Effort

The Pentagon has approved more military teams to deploy to mass COVID-19 vaccination centers as the push to vaccinate the public grows.

Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III on March 4 approved 10 more teams to deploy to help the Federal Emergency Management Agency run the vaccination sites, bringing the total approval to 35 teams, Pentagon spokesman John F. Kirby said.

The approval includes 15 “type one” teams with a total of 222 Active-duty personnel capable of administering 6,000 vaccinations per day, and 20 “type two” teams with 139 personnel capable of administering 3,000 vaccinations per day.

Of the approved total, 15 teams have already deployed to state-led, federally supported centers in six states and territories—California, Texas, New York, Florida, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, Kirby told reporters March 5. Teams are deploying soon to Illinois and North Carolina, with future deployments in the “coming weeks” expected to Ohio and Georgia.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon is also increasing the amount of vaccines available to service members. The department recently received an allocation of the newly approved, one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is being worked into distribution. This vaccine “gives us more flexibility” since it ships in bulk and does not require refrigeration, Kirby said.