The COVID response team’s briefing brought welcome news about vaccines. For one they’d be using the Defense Production Act to make more doses and speed up vaccinations.
The Department of Defense has approved FEMA‘s request and will deploy active military personnel to help vaccinate Americans.
“He’s ordered the first contingent of more than 1000 active duty personnel to support state vaccination sites part of this group will start to arrive in California within the next ten days to begin operations there around February 15,” said Andy Slavitt, a COVID-19 Response Team advisor during the virtual meeting.
Protection against the virus is desperately needed in California. The state that now has more deaths and infections than any other. And only vaccinated 4.2 million of it’s 40 million residents, dismal compared to other states.
Since the pandemic began we’ve seen the military step in and help several times, whether it be setting up the Indio Fairgrounds field hospital, helping our hospitals during surges, and even with food distribution at food banks.
Lt. Col. Chris Mitchell, with the Department of Defense tells us this is the first time he’s heard of a team deployed to vaccinate people in the U.S., “I’ve been in the service a long time, over two decades, I haven’t seen anything like it … from time to time we do see teams of military medical personnel head over seas on medical assignments but I don’t recall seeing anything like this stateside.”
There will be five teams, two of which are headed to vaccination sites in California in Oakland and L.A..
These teams will be made up of a variety of different kind of personnel, some command and control people, registered nurses, clinical staff, some vaccinators, it’s going to be a large operation.
Mitchell says this unprecedented pandemic requires everyone’s service and protecting Americans is part of their mission no matter what form it takes, “It’s certainly not a situation any of us ever expected to be in we’re just happy to be part of the solution.”