DoD Making ‘Good, Steady Progress’ on COVID-19 Shots

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DoD Making ‘Good, Steady Progress’ on COVID-19 Shots

More than 60% of active-duty troops have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose—and that number is “climbing daily,” according to the head of the Defense Health Agency.

“We’ve directly administered almost 3.5 million doses to our eligible beneficiaries and coordinated at least another 800,000 doses of vaccine for our Tricare providers and retail pharmacy networks,” Army Lt. Gen. Ronald Place, director of the Defense Health Agency, told Congress on May 25.

Army Works to Dispel Vaccine Misinformation

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Army Works to Dispel Vaccine Misinformation

The Army is upping its efforts to combat misinformation and provide “full transparency” about the COVID-19 vaccines, the Army surgeon general said.

“We want full transparency about COVID-19 vaccines so that our beneficiaries and our soldiers can make a confident and informed choice about vaccinations,” Lt. Gen. R. Scott Dingle said April 26.

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.

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.

Tricare Open Season Now Underway

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Tricare Open Season Now Underway

Retirees and eligible beneficiaries who use Tricare can now enroll in or make changes to their health care coverage.

Tricare open season began Nov. 9 and will run through Dec. 14. During this time, beneficiaries who use Tricare Prime or Tricare Select can make changes as needed. Any enrollments or changes go into effect Jan. 1.

This year, some retirees who use Tricare Select must take action to make sure they don’t lose health care coverage in the new year. 

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.”

Army Medicine Pushes Ahead in COVID-19 Fight

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Army Medicine Pushes Ahead in COVID-19 Fight

The Army is working tirelessly to help the nation fight COVID-19—and it still has a way to go, according to Army Medicine’s top general.

“I've been able to witness firsthand how our Army medical professionals have worked to ensure that we have healthy soldiers, healthy workplaces and healthy communities across the nation,” Lt. Gen. R. Scott Dingle, Army surgeon general, said Oct. 14 during a media roundtable at AUSA Now, the 2020 virtual annual meeting of the Association of the U.S. Army. 

Communication, Training Aided COVID-19 Response

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Communication, Training Aided COVID-19 Response

Communication and exercises helped prepare the Army for an unprecedented “whole of nation” response to the COVID-19 pandemic, DoD and Army leaders said.

“COVID-19 required an unprecedented response,” Lt. Gen. Laura Richardson, commanding general of Army North said Oct. 14 during AUSA Now, the Association of the U.S. Army’s virtual 2020 annual meeting.

“We have only trained for something like this in an exercise,” she said, adding that 10 FEMA regions were activated in response to the pandemic. 

DoD to Have Key Role in COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout

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DoD to Have Key Role in COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout

DoD and other federal agencies are putting into motion plans to roll out a COVID-19 vaccine under Operation Warp Speed—and the Pentagon is set to play a key role in its distribution.

“The Department of Defense is uniquely positioned to help guide the OWS distribution strategy due to its vast logistical experience,” said Army Gen. Gus Perna, chief operating officer of Operation Warp Speed. 

“Americans can trust that our country’s best public health and logistics experts are working together to get a vaccine to them as soon as available,” Perna said.