The Biden administration announced Friday that it will send more than 1,000 troops across the U.S. to assist in the coronavirus vaccine effort.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin approved a request from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to boost vaccination efforts with active U.S. troops White House Senior Advisor Andy Slavitt said, according to CNN.
More than a thousand service members will form five teams to travel to FEMA vaccination centers. The troops are expected to be deployed by Monday and will start vaccinations around Feb. 15.
Each team will consist of 222 people including 80 troops who will administer the shots, plus nurses and additional support staff. Each team will be able to provide up to 6,000 vaccination shots per day.
More than 30 millions first doses of the vaccine have been administered and nearly 7 million Americans have received their second shot. The vaccine rollout, which was managed by former President Donald Trump, was slow and since, stories of the most vulnerable communities being underserved in favor of white residents have come up in New York, Texas, Florida, and California.
The Defense Department and FEMA want to ramp up to administer more than 400,000 doses per day and are discussing deploying up to 10,000 troops across the country.
Gen. Dan Hokanson, the chief of the National Guard Bureau, told ABC News the guard can put about 200 additional teams together if necessary.
“If we reach the point where we’ve fully implemented all of our folks who can (give shots), then they’re looking at potential training opportunities if we’re going to need more than that,” Hokanson told ABC. “We’re going to do everything to make a difference and meet whatever that need is.”
The coronavirus pandemic is quickly reaching 500,000 deaths and have surpassed 27 million total cases. Initial estimates by Trump put the number of deaths between 100,000 and 240,000.
According to Bloomberg News, more than 119 million doses have been administered across 67 countries across the world.
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