As many as 3,700 active-duty troops have been placed on standby to assist in administering COVID-19 vaccines at Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) sites in several locations, including Texas, New York, and the Virgin Islands, in a bid to administer millions of vaccines to the areas hardest hit by the pandemic.
U.S. Northern Command head Air Force Gen. Glen VanHerck told reporters during a press briefing on Feb. 16 that by Feb. 24, about 778 troops will be deployed to begin running five COVID-19 vaccine sites in Houston, Dallas, and Arlington in Texas, and the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens in New York.
As many as 3,700 troops “are allocated to prepare to deploy,” VanHerck said. “They haven’t been given a tasking to deploy at this time.”
Plans are still being finalized by the Pentagon and FEMA to set up two additional sites in St. Thomas and St. Croix in the Virgin Islands.
VanHerck said he hopes that can be done by roughly March 1 or 2.
So far, the Pentagon has authorized 25 military teams, which include 4,700 active-duty troops, to assist FEMA at COVID-19 vaccine sites nationwide.
VanHerck said that the U.S. Northern Command has requested up to 100 teams, which could potentially make way for 18,000 troops to administer 400,000 jabs daily.
Controlling the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic is the chief national security mission for the U.S. homeland, VanHerck added.
President Joe Biden has vowed to vaccinate 100 million Americans against COVID-19 in his first 100 days in office. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 71.6 million doses of the two authorized vaccines have been distributed as of Feb. 16, but just 55.2 million total doses have been administered.
One vaccine is made by Pfizer and BioNtech; the other is made by Moderna, with assistance from U.S. health officials.
At least 11 states have seen delays in the rollout of vaccines due to severe winter conditions, with many forced to shut vaccine sites and reschedule appointments.
Thousands of appointments have been rescheduled in New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Missouri, Georgia, Kansas, Mississippi, Kentucky, New Hampshire, Texas, and Alabama, ABC News reported.
All mass vaccination programs scheduled through Feb. 19 in Missouri have been canceled over health and safety concerns due to “severe winter weather,” Gov. Mike Parson said, noting that vaccine shipments are also likely to be delayed.