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DOD Vaccine Centers Draw Down to 5

June 8, 2021 | BY C. Todd Lopez , DOD News

Back in February, the Defense Department partnered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to set up community vaccination centers to administer COVID-19 vaccines to Americans who wanted them.

A soldier wears rubber gloves and a mask. He uses a syringe to administer a vaccine into a woman's arm.
COVID-19 Vaccine
Army Sgt. Jonathan Fox, a combat medic assigned to 2nd Security Forces Assistance Brigade at Fort Bragg, N.C., administers a COVID-19 vaccine to a patient at the Milwaukee Community Vaccination Center in the Wisconsin Center, May 21, 2021.
Photo By: Army Spc. Robert P Wormley III
VIRIN: 210521-A-FK524-112
A soldier wearing a face mask gives directions to a community member in their car.
Giving Directions
Army Pfc. Brandon Rodriguez, a combat medic with the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, signals a community member to drive forward at the community vaccination center at the Colorado State Fairgrounds in Pueblo, Colo., May 2, 2021. Rodriguez deployed from Fort Carson, Colo., to provide whole-of-government support at the Pueblo vaccination center. U.S. Northern Command, through Army North, remains committed to providing continued, flexible Defense Department support to the Federal Emergency Management Agency as part of the whole-of-government response to COVID-19.
Photo By: Army Spc. Jacob Moir
VIRIN: 210502-A-FQ655-0018

Since that time, 16 million vaccinations have been administered. At the peak of the effort, there were 35 locations across the U.S. where teams of service men and women — as many as 222 — worked to provide vaccinations.

Now, after much success, that effort has drawn almost completely to a close.

"As of today, we are supporting eight vaccination sites and expect to reduce that to five by the end of today," Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby said. "We are proud of the support, of course, that our service members — both active duty and National Guard — have provided to combat this pandemic."

By Wednesday morning, he said, only five sites will remain open. Those sites are in New Jersey, Oklahoma, Oregon, Minnesota and Kentucky.

A Marine hands a T-shirt to a person sitting in an automobile.
T-Shirt Delivery
Marine Corps Pfc. Antonio Cason, assigned to the 2d Marine Division at Camp Lejeune, N. C., hands out T-shirts at a community vaccination center at the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis, Tenn., May 1, 2021.
Photo By: Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Justin T Brown
VIRIN: 210501-M-LP653-1004

The Defense Department's fight against COVID-19 isn't limited to the U.S. Currently, DOD is also working to provide COVID-19 support to nations in South Asia, Kirby said.

"If you didn't see it over the weekend, Travis Air Force Base remains extremely busy supporting government efforts to provide emergency assistance to countries in South Asia," he said.

Travis Air Force Base in California is helping the U.S. Agency for International Development airlift much-needed medical supplies to help Bangladesh battle its latest COVID-19 surge, Kirby said.

"An Air Force C-17 flight departed late Friday from Travis for Dhaka, Bangladesh, carrying over 2 million pieces of personal protective equipment to protect thousands of health care workers in Bangladesh," Kirby said.

Web mesh is wrapped around cargo. A paper sign reads "USAID."
COVID-19 Supplies
A shipment of COVID-19 supplies awaits loading onto a C-17 Globemaster III bound for Bangladesh at Travis Air Force Base, Calif., June 4, 2021.
Photo By: Air Force Staff Sgt. Christian Conrad
VIRIN: 210604-F-VG042-1046

The U.S. military has also helped USAID provide assistance to other nations, including India, Nepal, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

The partnership between USAID and the DOD, he said, demonstrates the United States government's global response to ensure that life-saving assistance and supplies reach those who need it most.