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FEMA Asked DOD for Help on Vaccines. The DOD Delivered

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has OK'd the deployment of 1K troops to vaccination sites
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 5, 2021 1:31 PM CST

(Newser) – The Pentagon will deploy troops to assist getting Americans vaccinated against COVID-19, the White House said Friday. Coronavirus senior adviser Andy Slavitt announced that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has approved a request for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, per the AP. It means about 1,000 active-duty military personnel will deploy to help state vaccination centers. President Biden has called for setting up 100 mass vaccination centers around the country within a month. Two are opening in California, and Slavitt said military personnel will arrive at those centers in a little over a week.

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Slavitt said support from the military will play a critical role in supporting vaccination sites, helping administer thousands of shots a day. Currently about 6.9 million Americans have received the full two-dose regimen required to get maximum protection from the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. That translates to about 2% of the US population. To reach widespread or "herd" immunity, about 70% to 85% of Americans must be vaccinated. The US is in a race with the virus, which is also spawning mutations that may prove resistant to vaccines.

(Read more coronavirus vaccine stories.)

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