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DOD identifies more troops to help administer COVID-19 vaccine

Image of Military personnel wearing a face mask filling up syringes with the COVID-19 vaccine. Click to open a larger version of the image. Soldiers supporting a Miami-Dade community vaccination center fill syringes with COVID-19 vaccine, March 2, 2021, in Miami, Florida (Photo by: Jocelyn Augustino, FEMA).

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The Defense Department has identified additional personnel authorized to support the Federal Emergency Management Agency in administering COVID-19 vaccinations at community vaccination centers around the country.

"The secretary authorized an additional 10 Type 2 teams for future FEMA support," said Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby during a briefing yesterday.

FEMA has asked the Defense Department for as many as 50 Type 1 teams to support community vaccination centers, as well as 50 Type 2 teams. A Type 1 team is made up of 222 service members, and can administer about 6,000 vaccinations a day, while a Type 2 team is made up of 139 service members and can administer about 3,000 vaccinations a day. The department is also staffing 25-person teams as well in some locations.

Right now, about 6,235 active duty service members have been identified by the Defense Department to support COVID-19 vaccination centers, though not all of those personnel have deployed yet as part of a team.

Just over 2,200 service members are deployed now in 17 teams to California, New Jersey, Texas, New York, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Pennsylvania, Florida, Illinois and North Carolina. Those teams are made up from service members from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps.

In the coming weeks, Kirby said, additional teams – about 444 service members – will deploy to both Ohio and Georgia to support vaccination efforts in those states. Together, they will be able to provide around 12,000 vaccinations a day.

The first community vaccination center to be supported by U.S. military personnel opened in mid-February at California State University in Los Angeles. At that location, 222 soldiers provide vaccination support, and are able to offer 6,000 vaccinations a day.

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