The Biden administration is expected to announce Friday it is sending about 1,000 US troops to help around the country with Covid-19 vaccinations. The announcement is expected from the White House as early as this morning, according to two defense officials.
The plan calls for the troops to form into five teams to travel to designated sites. Orders are expected to call for troops to be ready to deploy within 96 hours of receiving their orders.
This effort is the first part of the FEMA request to DOD to provide military assistance for vaccinations to meet President Biden’s goal of increasing the number of Americans who get doses during his first 100 days in office.
The Defense Department and FEMA have been discussing sending up to 10,000 troops. Each team will have personnel who can administer vaccines as well as support troops. The goal is for the military to eventually ramp up to administering approximately 450,000 vaccines a day.
The US Northern Command in Colorado Springs is now expected to work out exactly what troops will go and a potential mix of active duty and National Guard.
There is already a significant, but separate military effort.
“There are over 20,000 national guardsmen deployed providing COVID support including at over 216 vaccine sites in 36 states and territories,” said Max Rose, Covid senior adviser to the secretary of defense.
The Pentagon has also kept hundreds of personnel on notice to be prepared to deploy mainly for helping overwhelmed health care facilities and hospitals around the country.