Pentagon deploys troops to fuel COVID-19 vaccine drive

The Pentagon will deploy more than 1,100 troops to five vaccination centers in what will be the first wave of increased military support for the White House campaign to get more Americans vaccinated against COVID-19.

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February 5, 2021 - 12:24 PM

Illinois National Guard Spc. Tyleasha Smith gets ready to give COVID-19 vaccines Jan. 25, 2021, at the Tinley Park Convention Center.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon will deploy more than 1,100 troops to five vaccination centers in what will be the first wave of increased military support for the White House campaign to get more Americans vaccinated against COVID-19.

President Joe Biden has called for setting up 100 mass vaccination centers around the country within a month. Two of the five new military teams will go to vaccination centers opening in California. Coronavirus senior adviser Andy Slavitt said military personnel will arrive at those centers in a little over a week. Three additional centers are expected to be announced soon.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has asked the Pentagon to supply as many as 10,000 service members to staff 100 centers. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin approved the initial five teams, but the others will be approved in separate tranches as FEMA identifies the other site locations.

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