US deploying 1,000 active-duty troops to deliver vaccine shots

Mike Seals - February 5, 2021 10:59 am

WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — The Pentagon has approved the deployment of 1,000 active-duty troops to help deliver COVID-19 vaccine shots, the White House announced Friday.

White House coronavirus adviser Andy Slavitt said in a briefing that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin approved the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s request to “augment and expedite vaccinations across the country.”

Austin sent the first group of active-duty personnel to support state vaccination sites in California. They’ll arrive within the next 10 days, Slavitt said.

“The military’s critical role in supporting sites will help vaccinate thousands of people per day, and ensure that every American who wants a vaccine will receive one,” Slavitt said.

Earlier this week, Slavitt announced that the U.S. has awarded a more than $230 million contract scale up production of an at-home coronavirus test manufactured by Ellume.

On Friday, Slavitt said six more companies will surge manufacturing of at-home test kits to increase testing around the country.

“It wont be easy and it’s not happening overnight, but today’s announcement represents another step in the long journey back to normal life,” Slavitt said.

The announcement comes one day after Johnson & Johnson asked U.S. health regulators to authorize its single-dose COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use.

The drugmaker’s application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) follows its Jan. 29 report, in which it said the vaccine had a 66% rate of preventing infections in its large global trial.

The Food and Drug Administration is asking its independent advisers to publicly debate all the data behind the single-dose shot before it decides whether to green light a third vaccine option in the U.S. The panel will meet Feb. 26.

J&J’s single-shot vaccine could simplify the U.S. immunization campaign, which is currently reliant on two-shot doses, amid concerns of emerging variants.

More than 57 million vaccine doses have been distributed with 35 million doses administered throughout the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The United States has reported more than 26 million confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 455,000 deaths from the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University.


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