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.
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.
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