Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

Military, medical leaders discuss COVID-19 issues with Service Members

Mr. and Mrs. Milley, wearing masks, standing in front of various flags. Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and wife Hollyanne Milley said they are committed to protecting the military's 2.3 million men and women and 2.7 million family members from COVID-19, during a virtual event on Feb 4. (Photo by Jacob Moore, MHS Communications.)

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit

Top military and medical officials gathered earlier this month for a virtual town hall meeting with service members and their families to discuss COVID-19 vaccinations.

Among those speaking at the webinar were Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; and Army Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Ronald J. Place, director of the Defense Health Agency. The event was hosted by Blue Star Families and the American Red Cross.

In a recorded address, Milley and wife Hollyanne Milley said they are committed to protecting the military's 2.3 million men and women and 2.7 million family members from COVID-19. 

He also noted that the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration have declared the vaccines as "safe and highly effective" but he acknowledged that getting the vaccine is a personal decision.

Soldier receiving the COVID-19 vaccine in his right arm.
Marine Corps Col. George Markert, Chief of Staff of 2nd Marine Logistics Group, receives the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, January 28, 2021. Senior leaders of 2nd MLG volunteered to get the vaccine to lead from the front while showing confidence in the safety and efficacy of the vaccination effort. (Photo by Marine Corps Cpl. Rachel Young-Porter, 2nd Marine Logistics Group.) 

"We both encourage you to consult your primary-care physician to address any concerns ... so you can be well-equipped to make the right decision for you and your family," Milley said. "Protect yourself, protect your families and protect our communities. Together, we can all lead the way for the nation in the fight against COVID-19."

The global and historic respiratory pandemic is the first in the United States in 102 years, Fauci said. It has killed more than 2 million people worldwide, infected more than 20 million U.S. people, and left about 430,000 dead. 

Fauci also said that while the virus appears to be plateauing, the nation is still in its grips. There are still between 100,000 and 200,000 new cases each day and 3,000 to 4,000 deaths per day.

The vaccine development has met significant success with 32 million injections being administered, so far, Fauci said.

Late yesterday, Johnson & Johnson became the third company to receive an emergency use authorization for a new vaccine. Moderna and Pfizer received authorizations for their vaccines in December, and both are being administered across the country. 

The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines offer 94% to 95% effectiveness from developing COVID-19 and thwart nearly 100% of severe disease leading to death, Fauci said. 

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine had not received emergency use authorization when Fauci made his remarks.

"The results are extraordinary," he said.

Fauci fielded questions and debunked myths from those who fear the vaccine was developed too quickly to be safe and that corners were cut to make it available.

The speed of the vaccine's development is due to extraordinary technological advances that go back 10 years, he said, adding that neither safety nor scientific integrity was sacrificed. He urged people to get the vaccine, especially those who are at increased risk because they are immunocompromised due to chronic disease.

"If you look at the safety of any vaccine, the risk-to-benefit ratio for safety is about the same [as the COVID vaccine]," he said, adding that allergic reactions to getting the vaccine are rare.

Image of  Army Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Ronald J. Place, director of the Defense Health Agency,
During the virtual presentation, Army Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Ronald J. Place, director of the Defense Health Agency, explained how the agency and military medical treatment facilities are supporting the national effort to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Jacob Moore, MHS Communications.)

The vaccines by Pfizer and Moderna that are now available are for people 18 and older, although Fauci said trials are beginning for certain younger age groups and pregnant women. He also said babies in utero will receive the vaccine antibodies from the mother, and infants will receive them from moms who breastfeed.

Fauci said it is impossible to get COVID-19 from the vaccine, and it will "absolutely not" enter into a person's DNA.

Instead, the vaccine comprises messenger-RNA, Fauci said.

"RNA [ribonucleic acid] is the general molecular mechanism where we make all of the proteins and cells in our body. mRNA — the 'm' stands for messenger — is a message to tell the body to make a protein. When you get an mRNA vaccine, you stick in the coding sequence to make one of the components of COVID, which is called the spike protein," he said. "And the spike protein is the part that sticks out from the virus, which makes it look like a crown. When the mRNA codes for that protein [are injected] into your muscle, it starts to code for protein, and the body sees the spike protein and thinks it's the virus. But it's not the virus. It's one harmless component of the virus."

Fauci said when the real virus tries to enter your body, you have a bunch of proteins called antibodies that jump all over that virus and prevent it from infecting you.

"And that's the reason why many of you hear me every day in the media saying when your turn comes up, please get vaccinated — both for your own safety and for that of your family and for the American community in general," Fauci said.

The Defense Health Agency director said service members and their family members 18 and older have some options for where to get the vaccine. Military treatment facilities and community resources — such as state, county and local outlets — can provide it.

"We're doing several things," Place said. "We're encouraging individuals to get vaccine [information] like this discussion today. We're directing people to their state, county and local resources. We're working with our health care contractors to ensure communication flows from individual providers to their patients. And we're reaching out through military service organizations … to help steer families in the right direction."

By attending the webinar, Place said, audience members are educated as ambassadors to share what they've learned. "I hope you share what you hear today with others," because data show the likelihood of individuals receiving this vaccine and sharing their experiences have a statistically significant effect on the likelihood of family, friends and colleagues deciding to get the vaccine, he said.

"For almost 12 long months, we've been in this — bound together — and the only way out of it is together," Place said. 

You also may be interested in...

General’s visit punctuates engineering efforts converting arena to alternate care site

Article
4/27/2020
Image of a contractor and a soldier looking at a blueprint

The project cost $1.26 million and was completed in one week.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Public Health

Medical lab workers ensure readiness and wellness behind the scenes

Article
4/24/2020
Image of woman in lab coat looking at samples in test tubes

This week, thank a medical laboratory professional

Recommended Content:

Public Health | Coronavirus | Coronavirus

Early Detection Support for Troops During COVID-19

Article
4/23/2020
Woman in lab wearing mask and testing samples

The network’s ability to integrate the priorities identified by the Combatant Commands into its mission creates an agile organization ready to respond to needs as they occur.

Recommended Content:

Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division | Coronavirus

I Am Navy Medicine - Stopping the spread of COVID-19: Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Donald Cooney

Article
4/23/2020
Image of soldier wearing a mask in the hospital's chapel

Faith and a strong sense to serve his country has brought a Lebanon, Ore., native to the world of Navy Medicine.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Coronavirus

MHS - Defending the Homeland: Proning made easy at Keesler Air Force Base

Article
4/22/2020
Image of a dummy laying face-down on a hospital bed

Departments work together on solution to ICU breathing problem

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Cybersecurity critical for DoD teleworkers during pandemic

Article
4/21/2020
Protect your information when you’re teleworking.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a high-volume of DoD network users teleworking. Everyone must balance the requirements of the military health care mission with that of protecting the network, computers and mobile devices.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Cybersecurity Awareness

DOD, VA launch Joint Health Information Exchange

Article
4/21/2020
Image of soldier putting away a paper file

Increased access leads to gains in patient care, outcomes

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Federal Electronic Health Record Modernization (FEHRM) Program Office | Electronic Health Record: MHS GENESIS | Electronic Health Record Modernization & Interoperability

Chaplains virtually bolster resiliency in the midst of COVID-19

Article
4/20/2020
Image of a laptop on a table, with two chaplains on the laptop conducting a virtual service

The pandemic has charged the team to strengthen the bonds of interaction between itself and the community.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

AFMES missions continue through COVID-19

Article
4/17/2020
Two men sitting at a table going through sample bottles

AFMES is a resilient organization that is committed to accomplishing the mission during the global pandemic.

Recommended Content:

Armed Forces Medical Examiner System | Coronavirus

Mobile app may offer hope in times of distress

Article
4/16/2020
Image of man holding cell phone

Virtual Hope Box is one mobile app solution that may help individuals cope

Recommended Content:

Connected Health | Coronavirus

Uniformed Services University Adds COVID 19 Training to Curriculum

Article
4/16/2020
Army technician fits soldier with face mask

All of the university’s medical school Class of 2020 students completed the training prior to graduating, and the rest of the medical students have until April 15 to finish.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

COVID-19 and its impact on healthcare in Europe

Article
4/15/2020
Nurses review medical charts

MTF staffs are working hard to meet the needs of beneficiaries across Europe

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Military medical training continues during COVID-19

Article
4/14/2020
Students and instructors in the METC Respiratory Therapist program practice safe distancing and wear face coverings while training with mechanical ventilators. (Photo by Oscar Lopez)

METC’s mission - to train the world's finest medics, corpsmen and technicians - is vital to force readiness and the nation.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Health Readiness

Military hospital dials in virtual healthcare to combat COVID-19

Article
4/13/2020
Technician standing at a computer

At BAMC, traditional face-to-face appointments for most routine care have increasingly shifted to virtual care to ensure social distancing as well as patient and provider safety.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Technology | Coronavirus

inTransition Teams Up with the Veterans Crisis Line to Support Service Members in Crisis

Article
4/10/2020
Image of smiling woman with telephone headset sitting at her desk

In response to an increased volume of calls to the Veterans Crisis Line (VCL) since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), inTransition is partnering with the VCL to coordinate certain types of care for active duty service members.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Suicide Prevention
<< < ... 21 22 23 24 25  ... > >> 
Showing results 346 - 360 Page 24 of 27

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.