COVID-19 Vaccine Presents Chance for ‘New Normal’

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COVID-19 Vaccine Presents Chance for ‘New Normal’

As the pandemic’s year mark approaches, the COVID-19 vaccine rollout showcases the “light at the end of the tunnel” and chance for a “new normal,” Army senior leaders said.

“Vaccines are among the most important accomplishments in modern medicine,” Lt. Gen. R. Scott Dingle, Army surgeon general, said Feb. 22 during a virtual town hall with soldiers and family members. “They have saved more lives around the world than any other medical innovation, including antibiotics and surgery itself,” he said.

McConville: Army ‘Committed’ to Defeating COVID-19

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McConville: Army ‘Committed’ to Defeating COVID-19

One year into the COVID-19 pandemic, the Army remains committed to helping defeat the virus, Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville said.

“Right now, we have this domestic enemy, this invisible enemy called COVID,” he said. “When you look at the casualties that our country has taken, well in excess of what we took in World War II, from where I sit, we all should do what we can to defeat this virus.”

Soldiers Boost COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

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Soldiers Boost COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

The Army, along with the rest of DoD, is stepping up to help with COVID-19 vaccination efforts as the rollout continues across the country.

Following a request from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has approved the deployment of 1,110 active-duty troops to support five FEMA vaccination sites.

Leaders Urge Military Families to Get COVID-19 Vaccine

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Leaders Urge Military Families to Get COVID-19 Vaccine

First lady Jill Biden, Dr. Anthony Fauci and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley were among a slate of high-profile leaders to appear in a virtual town hall urging military families to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Military Seeks Blood Donors to Combat Shortage

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Military Seeks Blood Donors to Combat Shortage

Military officials are asking for blood donors to step forward in the new year, especially as the force continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The public health guidelines to reduce interaction with others, social distancing, reducing time outside the home … it translates into a decreased donor turnout,” Col. Jason Corley, director of the Army Blood Program, said in a press release. “We’re no different from our civilian blood agency counterparts. They’ve been experiencing the same things since March.”

DoD Ready to Administer COVID-19 Vaccine

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DoD Ready to Administer COVID-19 Vaccine

The initial doses will go to the “highest risk” populations, including health care personnel, and a “handful” of senior defense leaders, according to Army Lt. Gen. Ronald Place, director of the Defense Health Agency.

Among beneficiaries, residents of Armed Forces retirement homes are among the highest risk populations, Place said, adding that the Military Health System can rely on electronic health records to monitor beneficiaries who are at high risk for COVID-19 based on CDC guidance.

DoD Takes ‘Holistic’ Look at Deployments Worldwide

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DoD Takes ‘Holistic’ Look at Deployments Worldwide

Military leaders are taking on a “holistic review” of troops’ footprint around the world as the U.S. remains focused on “great-power competition,” according to the Pentagon’s top general.

“There’s a very strong argument to be made that we may have forces in places that they shouldn’t be, and we may have forces that are needed in places that they’re not right now,” Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Dec. 2 while speaking with the Brookings Institution. 

Personnel Records Center Temporarily Halts Operations

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Personnel Records Center Temporarily Halts Operations

The National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri, has been closed to the public since March and is now temporarily shutting down most of its remaining operations because of increased COVID-19 spread in the area. 

There is no prediction for when full operations might resume. “The NPRC will be operating at various degrees of reduced on-site capacity until the public health emergency has ended,” the center says in a statement.  

This action slows but does not completely halt activity on veterans’ claims that often require proof found in military records.  

Demand Increases for Virtual Resources in Pandemic

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Demand Increases for Virtual Resources in Pandemic

The Pentagon continues to look for ways to provide service members and their families with access to counseling and other resources during the COVID-19 pandemic, officials said.

“Our military family resources are especially critical during the pandemic,” Kim Joiner, deputy assistant secretary of defense for military, community and family policy, said recently during a virtual media roundtable. “To better serve our service members and their families during this challenging time, [we] significantly enhanced our support efforts in every aspect of our portfolio.”