DoD Expands COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

DoD Expands COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

soldier getting vaccine
Photo by: U.S. Army/1st Lt. Angelo Mejia

As DoD starts vaccinating the entire U.S. military population against COVID-19, the shots remain voluntary and free from command pressure, senior military health officials said.

Vaccination efforts, particularly overseas, have suffered from the temporary halt in use of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. Army Lt. Gen. Ronald Place, Defense Health Agency director, said overseas locations are receiving supplies of the Moderna vaccine, a reallocation he believes will lead to 80% vaccination overseas by June 1. 

With everyone eligible for vaccination, Place said he expects some people and some units that didn’t participate when first offered a dose will become interested. 

Efforts will also be made to encourage younger people to be vaccinated, said Dr. Terry Adirim, acting assistant defense secretary for health affairs. “You are doing it not just to protect yourself, but your family and your teammates,” she said. 

When asked why commands didn’t offer incentives such as time off to those who are getting vaccinated, she said, “Getting the vaccine itself should be an incentive.”