The Pentagon decided to deploy more than 1,100 troops to five different vaccination centers to increase military support for the White House campaign to get more Americans inoculated against COVID-19.
President Biden has called for setting up 100 mass vaccination centers around the country within a month. One of the five new military teams will go to a vaccination center opening in California. Other centers are expected to be announced shortly.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has asked the Pentagon to supply as many as 10,000 service members to staff 100 centers. Lloyd Austin, who is the Defense Secretary has approved the initial five teams, but the others will be approved in separate tranches as FEMA identifies the other site locations.
Only 2% of Americans have received the required two-dose vaccination regimen that offers optimum protection with the Pfizer-BioTech and Moderna vaccines currently available. In order to reach “herd” immunity, the U.S. must vaccinate 70% to 85% of its population, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci.
That would be roughly 230 million to 280 million people, compared to 6.9 million who are currently fully immunized with two shots.
Military troops will staff one of the two California centers, FEMA and Pentagon officials said. Personnel from other parts of the federal government will be at the other one. More sites will open around the country as more doses of vaccine become available.
President Biden has compared the campaign against COVID-19 to a war. Alongside the troop deployment, he also started a Cold War-era law called the Defense Production Act to help bolster manufacturing of vaccines, at-home COVID-19 testing kits and nitrile gloves used by health care workers and vaccinators. Referred to as the DPA, the law in essence allows the government to assign missions to private companies during national emergencies.
Tim Manning, the White House’s COVID-19 supply coordinator, said Friday “the administration was looking to help drugmaker Pfizer clear a bottleneck around fill-and-finish capabilities with vaccine production by giving the drugmaker first priority to access needed supplies.”
Sources: Newsmax, The Daily Beast, and CBS News; Photo: theepochtimes.com