- The Washington Times - Friday, February 5, 2021

The Defense Department approved the deployment of more than 1,000 active-duty troops to help with COVID-19 vaccination efforts, the White House said Friday.

Biden adviser Andy Slavitt said the effort will begin in California on Feb. 15, with additional missions to follow.

The troops are being deployed at the request of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The deployment of 1,100 members will support five vaccination centers. They will perform shots or improve the flow of movement at the centers, among other tasks.

The deployment will be broken into five groups of 222 members — two teams from the Army and one each from the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.



President Biden frequently talks about the COVID-19 fight as being on a “wartime” effort. 

The vaccine campaign is largely managed by governors, though Mr. Biden is dispatching assistance to some states through FEMA.

Also Friday, the administration filled in the lines of how it is using the Defense Production Act to respond to the pandemic.

It said Pfizer will receive contract priority on equipment it needs to produce its vaccines, such as filling pumps and filtration units, so it gets what it needs ahead of other companies.

Mr. Slavitt argued that priority will be a “critical factor” in Pfizer meeting its dose-production targets.

The administration said it is investing in six companies that can provide 60 million at-home tests by the summer, to improve screening for the virus, and will produce more of the raw materials for nitrile surgical gloves in the U.S.

Tim Manning, a logistics specialist on the White House COVID-19 team, said the goal is to provide made-in-America materials for half of the glove supply used by the U.S. health system.

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