The U.S. military won’t be administering any Covid 19 vaccines, but it will play a logistics leadership role to make sure the vaccine is available to everyone in the United States.
“The overwhelming majority of Americans will get a vaccine that no federal employee, including the Department of Defense, has touched,” explained Paul Mango, deputy chief of staff for policy at the Department of Health and Human Services.
“We have the best logisticians in the world at the DOD, working in conjunction with the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to guide every logistical detail you could possibly think of.,” he said at a DOD-HHS joint teleconference on the Operation Warp Speed vaccine development program.
That joint effort is being led by U.S. Army General Gustave F. Perna, who serves as the chief operating officer of Operation Warp Speed. He also is charged with managing the deployment of needed items such as needles, syringes, swabs, adhesive bandages, dry ice and trucking services drawn from the private sector.
Mango added that the military won’t be involved in moving any doses or injecting any vaccines, but it will staff operations centers similar to those set up for events like hurricanes.
“We’re going to have one [center] just for vaccines that Gen. Perna, his team and the CDC are going to man 24 hours a day,” Mango said. “They will know where every vaccine dose is. If a vaccine dose is at risk of expiring, they will guide the movement of that to someplace else.”
While federal military personnel won’t be touching or administering the vaccine, Mango said that state governors may involve their National Guard troops in these activities at their discretion.