US to deploy troops to aid vaccine efforts

Idrees Ali
·1-min read

US President Joe Biden's administration says the Pentagon had approved the deployment of 1100 active-duty troops to assist with COVID-19 vaccination efforts in the country.

The pandemic has killed more than 447,000 people in the US and thrown millions out of work.

Andy Slavitt, senior adviser to the White House's COVID-19 response team, said in a briefing that part of the group would start to arrive in California within the next 10 days.

The Pentagon said the 1110 troops would be broken down into five teams, each with vaccinators, nurses and clinical staff.

The deployment is likely just the first tranche of US military personnel assisting in administering vaccinations around the country.

White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain last week said the Federal Emergency Management Agency was working with the Pentagon to use 10,000 troops and open 100 centres across the US to increase the availability of vaccines.

Using the military to fight the coronavirus is not new.

At its peak under former president Donald Trump, more than 47,000 National Guard troops were supporting COVID-19 operations and about 20,000 continue to help.

The Army Corps of Engineers has also built thousands of rooms across the country to assist hospitals with the strain caused by the spread of the coronavirus.